If you are charged with a drug-related offense, you will likely want to hire a lawyer to defend you. While many people think a lawyer's job is to prove your innocence, you may wonder what your lawyer will do if you are guilty of a charge. If you decide to plead guilty or it is obvious to your lawyer that you will be found guilty, there are still several ways that your lawyer can help you.
Negotiate Plea Bargains
Your lawyer will likely work to negotiate a plea bargain for you that can reduce your charges, reduce your sentencing, or get rid of your charges completely. An experienced lawyer will know which prosecutors have the ability to offer plea bargains and will know how to negotiate a fair plea bargain for you. They may also help you determine the reality of what you will be offered and encourage you to take the best deal possible instead of holding out for a less realistic plea bargain.
Propose Rehabilitation Before Prison Time
In some states, your lawyer may be able to propose to the sentencing judge that you serve part of your prison sentence in an in-patient rehabilitation center. For example, if you were sentenced to a year in prison, they may argue that you spend 4 months in rehabilitation before serving your prison sentence. This may count towards your prison time in some states or may simply delay your prison time in other states. However, successful drug rehabilitation may make it easier for you to serve your prison time.
Argue for Probation Instead of Prison Time
In some cases, your lawyer may be able to argue for probation instead of prison time. For example, if it is your first offense and you are a full-time student or have a full-time job, your lawyer may be able to argue that it would be more beneficial for society for you to continue your classes or your work. In these cases, you may be granted house arrest, meaning you have to stay in your home when you are not at work or school, or weekend jail time, meaning you serve your sentence on the weekends but go to your job or school during the weekdays. During this period you may have several strict rules placed on your behavior, and you will likely have to submit to regular drug testing.
May Get You Into a Diversion Program
Diversion programs are gaining popularity in many states. Diversion programs often involve a mix of probation, rehabilitation, job skills training, and community service. If you are accepted into a diversion program, and you follow the entire program until the end, then the case will be dropped. This means that you will not have been found guilty on your criminal record. However, if you fail to complete the program, your original sentence (usually jail time) will most likely be implemented immediately, without a second trial, and the offense will be put on your record.
Address Options to Keep Your Record Clean
If you are found guilty of a drug-related offense, your criminal record can prevent you from getting certain jobs. However, your lawyer can help you figure out whether you will be eligible to have your record expunged after a certain amount of time. Some states allow non-violent drug charges to be expunged and have special rules for youth under 21 regarding expunging records.
Even if you participate in a diversion program, your initial arrest may remain on your record. A drug defense attorney can help you get the initial arrest expunged after you successfully complete your diversion program, leaving you with a clean record.Share