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Being arrested is always a bit frightening, especially if you haven’t had run-ins with the law before. If you’ve been charged with drug possession or distribution, you might wonder what’s next.
It’s important to follow some simple steps and strategies to protect yourself and your rights. Taking this approach will also maximize the defense strategies available to you.
You can make it through this legal process as long as you have the right game plan and help. Here’s what you need to know.
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Understand Your Rights
As you are arrested, a police officer will read you your rights. It’s easy to overlook this disclosure in a tense situation, but it’s vital to pay attention. These rights are there to protect you and ensure you get a fair trial and strong defense.
The primary rights in the Miranda warning are the right to remain silent and the right to request an attorney. Having an attorney with you during questioning can help you avoid incriminating yourself or making statements you regret.
The best practice is to say, “I want an attorney” or “I am exercising my right to silence.” In both cases, the police officer will immediately stop the questioning — or if they don’t, the issue could be thrown out.
Did the Arrest Process Make Sense?
While police officers sometimes act like they can do anything, the law limits their actions. They cannot stop anyone without reason, and there are legal standards for everything from asking your identity to searching you.
If you feel something is going wrong, pay close attention to what’s happening. These details need to be relayed to your criminal defense lawyer.
Sometimes a police officer will claim they did things that they didn’t or that they acted in a specific way when that’s not the case. Fortunately, there’s usually evidence, such as a body camera, that will bring out the truth.
Understanding South Dakota Drug Charges
What kinds of drug charges will you face in South Dakota?
If you are arrested for weed possession, you’ll face criminal charges based on how much you had on you. Controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are regulated by schedule. Schedule I is the most dangerous, and Schedule V (5) is considered the least dangerous. You’ll want to know what category your drug possession falls in, so you understand the potential consequences.
For instance, heroin possession is a Schedule I charge, where illegal possession of Lorazepam is a Schedule IV (4) charge.
In general, possession of a CDS without a valid prescription is a Class 4 felony, and you could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000. Sometimes there are alternative sentencing programs that treat addiction and help you get back on track.
Being charged with drug possession is a serious life-altering event. That’s why having a criminal defense lawyer in your corner is essential!
Get the Representation You Need
As you can see, drug possession is a serious charge and the consequences can impact your life for years to come. Make sure you get a good criminal defense attorney so that you fully understand your options and can craft a strong defense.
Have you been charged with drug possession? Contact us for a consultation today!
Criminal Law Resources
Learn about your rights and how we approach criminal defense cases here at Alvine & Weidenaar.
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