There are many things about so-called "street" drugs that may surprise you. For instance, did you know data suggests that more than 10 percent of people in Alabama and all other states over the age of 12 have tried illicit drugs in the past month?
It might also surprise you to learn the average amount of time you may spend in prison for conviction of drug possession in this country is more than two years.
The following list includes other potential drug-related penalties in the United States:
- Substantial fines: If you are unable to avoid conviction, you're at risk for severe financial strain due to fines held against you as punishment.
- Community service: Penalties for conviction may include many hours of mandated community service, which may stand alone or be issued as part of a larger sentence.
- Felony record: A felony drug conviction bears significant impact on your freedom to possess a firearm, vote in a presidential election or seek gainful employment.
Although the above list is not extensive, it's an overview of the various penalties you may incur if convicted of a drug crime in this state.
What if you're innocent?
You wouldn't be the first person ever to be charged with a drug crime knowing all the while you did not commit the acts for which you've been accused.
In fact, you may be among others who have faced charges in one or more of these scenarios:
- A police officer pulled you over in a traffic stop and saw something in your car that he or she thought was an illegal substance.
- You were visiting a friend when cops showed up, raided the house and took everyone in it, including you, to jail on suspicion of a drug crime.
- You were wearing someone else's coat or clothing when a police officer performed a bodily search and found an alleged illicit drug in a pocket.
Such situations may obviously leave you feeling afraid and unable to think clearly to make informed decisions during the process that unfolds.
There are ways to protect your rights
If you've had to call home to let your family know you've been arrested and charged with a drug crime, or have missed one or more days of work because you're sitting in a jail cell for a crime you did not commit, remember:
- Just because police have charged you with a crime does not necessarily mean the court will hand down a conviction.
- American jurisprudence presumes your innocence unless proved otherwise in a court of law.
- You do not have to wait until prosecutors file formal charges to seek outside support to begin building a strong defense.
You may have a lot at stake, including your personal freedom, as well as your job and ability to provide for your family. You have every right to aggressively fight charges against you and may seek assistance to combat any tactic prosecutors may set forth in their quest to obtain a conviction.
Various defense options may be available to you
Others who have faced charges similar to yours have often secured positive outcomes in court through aggressive defense strategies. A knowledgeable attorney is able to:
- Scrutinize the process by which any search, seizure, investigation or arrest has taken place
- Determine whether arresting officers violated any of your personal rights
- Challenge evidence proffered as inadmissible and request that charges be dismissed
- Provide sound counsel as to how best to proceed to increase your chances of avoiding conviction
By seeking support to protect your rights and defend yourself, you may be able to minimize the potential negative impact your current situation may have on your future.