Getting arrested for a drug offense in Georgia can be a shocking and frightening experience. People sometimes end up accused of a crime that they had no intention of committing. The situations that could lead to someone’s surprise arrest include police officers finding something in a vehicle or apartment during a search.
The average person suddenly facing criminal charges will feel overwhelmed by the situation and uncertain of what to do next. All too often, people make the major mistake of pleading guilty because they think that is the simplest solution. Those recently arrested and facing allegations of a controlled substances violation in Georgia may need help navigating the criminal justice system.
What steps to someone need to take when responding to drug-related charges in Georgia?
Make sense of the specific charge
The first step when deciding how to respond to a criminal allegation in Georgia is to learn about the specific charge. Certain possession offenses might be misdemeanor offenses, but other situations could lead to felony charges.
Possessing a large amount of drugs or an assortment of different substances, for example, might lead to allegations of possession with intent or drug trafficking charges. Manufacturing and distributing drugs could leave far more serious charges and more significant penalties. Certain drugs, like fentanyl, are currently subject to more scrutiny and harsher enforcement because of their association with overdoses.
Review the state’s evidence
People often feel hopeless when accused of a crime because they don’t realize that the state may not have a very strong case against them. The evidence could be largely circumstantial. Other times, the evidence might not hold up in court because police violated the law while collecting it. A careful review of the state’s evidence can help an individual determine what defense strategy might work in their case.
Connect with professional advocacy
Even someone who already understands the law relatively well may not be their own best advocate during a criminal trial. People’s nerves and emotions impact how they speak to others and how they appear in court. Someone who is anxiously or angrily protesting on their own behalf could alienate jurors and make mistakes that could have a major impact on the outcome of their case. Individuals who consult with defense attorneys often have a more realistic idea of their options for defending against charges. They will also have guidance about how to best present themselves in court and prepare for their trial.
Instead of trying to manage everything on their own while learning about a very complex criminal justice matter, they can rely on the educational support and advocacy available by seeking legal guidance. Seeking legal guidance is, therefore, generally very wise.