Although anti-drug laws existed for decades, Richard Nixon coined the phrase “war on drugs” during a 1971 speech. He called illegal drugs “public enemy number one” and vowed to launch interdiction programs to incarcerate offenders and hopefully eradicate the problem. A less-publicized portion of this speech emphasized the “prevention of new addicts and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted.” But that promise didn’t get much attention in the media.
Over fifty years later, the government may have spent as much as $1 trillion to fight a losing war. Drug-related arrests have leveled off in recent years, but drug crime convictions still send hundreds of thousands of people, many of them young Black males, to prison every year.
A dedicated Rochester drug crime lawyer is frequently the only thing standing between a defendant and a lengthy prison sentence. Court-appointed lawyers and public defenders are almost always competent. But there’s no way to tell if they are dedicated to criminal defense or simply drawing a paycheck until another opportunity arises. Drug crimes, especially drug trafficking crimes, are so severe that, as outlined below, you simply cannot leave the matter to chance.
Familiarity with the Legal System
It may seem unbelievable, but many attorneys aren’t familiar with the legal system. They analyze problems and think like lawyers, as taught in law school. Only a Rochester drug crimes lawyer knows how to put this experience to work.
Furthermore, most criminal court cases aren’t settled in the courtroom like on TV. Instead, plea bargains resolve over 95 percent of the criminal cases in Monroe County. Since few law schools teach negotiation skills, many lawyers don’t have these tools.
Additionally, since many plea bargains involve charge reductions, an attorney must be familiar with the elements of and defenses to the charged crime and the elements of and defenses to lesser crimes.
Dedicated to Criminal Defense
We mentioned dedication to criminal defense above. Now, let’s break this important quality down a little more.
Undedicated lawyers often miss critical details. Grant Cooper, who represented Sirhan Sirhan in the later 1960s, was a competent lawyer but not a dedicated criminal defense lawyer. He also represented Shirley Temple when she divorced B-movie regular John Agar. So, Cooper didn’t aggressively attack some flaws in the state’s case, like inconsistencies between the autopsy report and witness statements.
Dedication to drug crime cases is essential as well. Decision makers passed many harsh anti-drug laws in the 1980s as an emotional response to the sudden death of basketball phenom Len Bias. If attorneys lack the passion to stand up against these unfair laws, they often lack the drive to defend drug crime charges successfully.
Solid Legal Advice
We mentioned that plea bargains resolve most criminal charges. It’s not always easy to distinguish between a good and bad offer. Only a good drug crime lawyer can differentiate between them.
Furthermore, criminal convictions usually have collateral consequences, such as immigration effects. These collateral consequences often blindside defendants who don’t have knowledgeable lawyers.
A Partnership that Saves Money
People who go to prison for drug crimes not only lose the jobs they have. They also often cannot find good jobs after prison, partially because of the felony conviction and the public stigma against “drug dealers” and other serious offenders. This financial fallout affects friends and family members as well.
Frequently, a Rochester drug crimes lawyer engineers a deferred disposition plea. After the defendant is discharged from probation, the judge typically dismisses the case, leaving the defendant with no conviction record. The deferred disposition also has some significant cons, taking us back to the solid legal advice only a lawyer can give.
An Investment in Your Future
Similarly, people with felony convictions, especially drug crime convictions, often have difficulty re-integrating into society. Investing money now in a good Rochester criminal defense lawyer makes the rest of a defendant’s life much more livable.
There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester drug crimes attorney. Convenient payment plans are available.