Do You Advise Voluntary Pre-Trial Counseling For Clients In Drug Cases?
In many instances, voluntary pre-trial counseling for clients can be beneficial in defending drug cases. Often the issue is whether the defendant possessed the suspected narcotics or controlled substances for sale or personal use. If a defense can show pre-existing counseling, it can help in a few ways. It can tend to show the substances were possessed for personal use and be a mitigating factor to take into consideration. Drug sentencing laws are more lenient for personal use.
The possession of drugs for sale can trigger prison, jail, or felony sentences in California. Personal possession of any drug is a misdemeanor. Attending counseling either AA meetings, outpatient or residential programs can help a lot in a case’s resolution. Such attendance can help people stay out of jail, is addressing their underlying issues, and is open to rehabilitation.
A good defense attorney should know the different types of counseling programs that would best fit a client’s personality, needs, and requirements of the courts.
At What Point Do I Have To Enter A Plea Of Guilty Or Not Guilty In A Drug Case?
At the arraignment, a defendant will typically enter a plea of not guilty. A “not guilty” plea essentially means that the defendant is not prepared to enter a guilty plea or a no-contest plea and requesting that the government to prove the case against them beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not a factual assertion of actual innocence.
A plea of guilty or no contest is entered only after a case has been worked up by the defense attorney, after the review of the discovery, litigation of any possible motions or defenses, and consultation with the client. The consultation with clients always includes discussions on any and all potential collateral consequences such as immigration and professional ones.
What Are The Next Steps After Entering A Plea Of Not Guilty In A Drug Case?
After entering the plea of not guilty in a drug case, the next steps should involve the attorney answering all of the defendant’s questions, concerns, and issues. Then the defense attorney needs to request, obtain, and review the relevant discovery (police reports, officer body-worn cameras, patrol car videos, surveillance videos, etc.). You may need to retain an investigator to obtain nearby business or residential surveillance videos that captured the incident as well as interview potential witnesses.
Also, the defense will want to consider all potential issues with the related government or private contracted crime lab, including its ability to analyze and report; type of equipment; whether such equipment is maintained and still approved for the testing used in your case; the lab’s accreditation, and lab personnel issues, etc.
Further steps: the attorney will also evaluate the type of motions to potentially litigate such as the confidential informant motion, motion to contest various aspects of the search warrant, or motions relating to warrantless detentions, stops, arrests, and searches. There can be a lot of digging into the attendant issues such as attempting to unseal affidavits in support of the related search warrants to attempting to obtain the recording of the actual officer’s sworn statement magistrate.
Those are a few steps outlined. There can be many more depending on the complexity of the case.
For more information on Voluntary Pre-Trial Counseling In A Drug Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 484-0906 today.