There’s a lot on the line when facing drug charges. If it’s your child that’s been hit with accusations of criminal wrongdoing, then you’re probably worried that his or her future is going to be derailed. While certain criminal penalties like jail might be a real concern, even the criminal record itself can affect your kid’s ability to get his or her career off the ground. This, in turn, can lead to financial difficulties and housing issues. It really can be a slippery slope if you’re not careful.
When you’re in the midst of this kind of situation, then you might be tempted to try to work out a plea deal with the prosecution as quickly as possible. After all, this might be the best way to get past the matter so that your child can focus on his or her schooling, right? Maybe not. Before engaging in settlement talks with the prosecution and deciding on a plea deal, you need to consider each of the following factors:
- The penalties at risk: Looking at the charged crimes, what are the maximum penalties that your child could face upon conviction? In other words, if the case is taken to trial and your kid loses, what’s at stake?
- What the plea deal offers: After looking at the potential penalties, consider what the plea deal offers and think about whether there’s a big enough of a difference to justify accepting a conviction via a plea deal. There’s a lot to consider here other than just jail time, so take into account the level of the crime (i.e. misdemeanor or felony) as well as any fines that may be involved.
- The strength of the prosecution’s case: You can’t make a proper decision regarding a plea deal if you don’t understand the strength of the prosecution’s case. This means that it’s in your best interests to analyze the evidence that’s in play, depose the prosecution’s witnesses, and research applicable case law. Only then can you know where the prosecution’s case stands and how difficult it’s going to be for you to challenge it.
- The criminal defense options that are available: Even if the evidence seems stacked against your child, there may be some strong criminal defense strategies that can be utilized to protect your kid. This is especially true if you’re able to suppress some of the prosecution’s key evidence. Therefore, you’ll need to know the law and how to utilize it to your advantage. If you can show that your child or his vehicle was searched after an illegal traffic stop, for example, then you might be able to suppress any subsequently gathered evidence since it would be deemed fruit of the poisonous tree. This can devastate the prosecution’s case.
- The desire for quick resolution: Sometimes it’s best to resolve a case as quickly and as quietly as possible, especially if you don’t want to draw attention to the matter. Or you may simply want to avoid the time and cost of drawn-out criminal litigation. Regardless, you should carefully consider how you want the matter resolved and whether you want to spend the time, money, and effort to fight the case in court.
Don’t let your kid be bullied into a bad plea deal
In far too many cases, aggressive prosecutors use their position of power and accused individuals’ fear to secure plea deals and subsequent convictions. Don’t let this happen to your child. Instead, make sure that a thorough analysis of your child’s case is conducted so that you know where your child stands. If you’d like assistance in that regard and in developing the strongest criminal defense arguments possible, then now may be the time to discuss the situation with an attorney who has a track record of success in these types of cases.