Should I Hire an Attorney Even if I Plan on Pleading Guilty to Drug-Related Charges?
- You should always hire an attorney when facing drug-related charges, whether you plan on pleading guilty. An attorney can make sure your guilty plea is the best option for you and can also severely impact the potential sentencing on your case.
- Voluntary counseling doesn’t necessarily have an impact on a drug case either way, though there are some instances in which it can be shoehorned into alternative sentencing. If you do pursue voluntary counseling through the Court, you should be aware that anything you say there can and will be held against you in Court.
- Pleas are generally entered at arraignment, though “not guilty” is the default plea and does not necessarily have to be entered.
Yes, you should always hire an attorney if you are facing drug-related charges, even if you plan on pleading guilty.
It is necessary to hire an attorney in this scenario because, first of all, you might want to assess why you are planning on pleading guilty. Even if your case looks like a sure thing for the prosecution, there may be options to fight the charges against you that you don’t know about.
The second reason why you need a defense attorney even if you’re going to plead guilty is that there is a lot of variation in potential sentencing on any given case, even in cases where the defendant pleads guilty. You want an experienced attorney on your side to negotiate the most lenient sentencing possible on your behalf.
Do You Advise Your Clients to Proceed with Voluntary Counseling While Their Drug Related Case is Pending? Is it Helpful to do so, or not?
I would say generally that it doesn’t make a difference in your case one way or the other if you attend voluntary counseling while the case is pending.
So, if you feel like you need to go to counseling, then maybe it’s worth doing. The caution I would offer about this sort of counseling is that anything that you say could potentially be used against you in your case.
So, if you do pursue counseling offered by the Court, you want to be very careful about what you admit to while you have an open case.
In general, though, if you are going to do a program or go through voluntary counseling, I would say it’s best to let me know about it and see if it’s possible for me to negotiate anything ahead of time. This way, you can potentially get diversion or pre-trial probation. Depending on the circumstances, I might even be able to help you get ahead of it and make the program your sentence instead of something else being your sentence.
At What Point in my Drug Case Will I Have to Enter a Plea of Guilty or Not Guilty?
The court will automatically enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf at your arraignment. If you decide that you want to continue with a not guilty plea, you will not have to enter that plea—it will already be entered for you. You only need to enter another plea if you decide by arraignment that you want to change your plea to guilty, or to continuance without a finding.
At that point, we will have all the discovery we need to decide, because the Commonwealth is required to provide all necessary discovery by the pretrial date. The pretrial date is usually which is usually a couple of months before the trial date, or one month before the trial date if you are incarcerated at the time.
What are the Next Steps After Entering a Plea of Not Guilty in a Drug Case?
The next steps depend on when I am contacted and what we have gotten done so far. Ideally, we would have gotten quite a bit done already, but by the time the average client contacts me, the next steps become discussing the facts of the case to see what angles might be available to challenge the Commonwealth’s narrative and see if it’s possible to win the case.
When and How do You Determine Whether to Take a Drug Case to Trial or Not?
The decision whether to take a drug case to trial or not varies in each case.
One major factor is whether the Commonwealth has the evidence to prove you guilty at trial or not. Sometimes you are not going to know whether they have the requisite evidence until the day of trial, because the Commonwealth usually has a backlog in getting drug testing done, and if it’s your trial date and there are no test results, then you can often get the case dismissed. But again, this is not something that you are going to know for sure until the trial date.
Additionally, sometimes there’s a chance for getting a better offer for a plea if you show that you are willing to go to trial, ready to go to trial and are fully prepared to go to trial. For this reason, in many cases, it’s best not to take any plea until the trial date.
This does vary in effectiveness, though. If you get an offer that satisfies your needs, maybe it makes sense to take it sooner rather than later, especially if you have special considerations like the risk of immigration consequences. In that case, I’d be more inclined to say that as soon as you get your offer that avoids the more serious risks you are facing, it might make more sense to take it.
For more information on Pleading Guilty To Drug Related Charges, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 718-5550 today.