Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

After I Enter a Plea of Not Guilty in a Drug-Related Case, What Are the Next Steps as You Prepare the Defense?

After you enter a plea of not guilty in a drug-related case, it would not be any different compared to any other criminal case. You will want to look at all of the evidence, which you are now entitled to under the new laws. You want to examine everything in the people’s case for flaws, and you want to see how you can refuse to rebut the prosecutors’ case. Sometimes the defendant will have to be prepared to testify. You certainly want to look for any possible witnesses. You want to review all of the people’s evidence, which now will usually include videos and statements by people, and you can prepare to refute their case. If you can show that you were not present at the time when the drugs were recovered and that they had no connection to you, that will help you win your case. However, it is very difficult to do that in any case. You’ll also determine in advance what your defense strategy is going to be, and sometimes, as you prepare, you’ll find that you don’t have a strong case.

At What Point In My Drug Case Will A Prosecutor Generally Offer A Plea Deal, And What Might That Look Like For A First-Time Offender, Second Etc. In New York?

An offer for a plea deal from a prosecutor will depend on the type of case it is. For instance, if you are accused of selling 10 kilos of heroin, you’re going to have a very different offer, regardless of whether it’s a first-offense, compared to somebody who is accused of possession of a small amount of cocaine or marijuana. The quantity and the circumstances make the biggest determination in most drug cases that don’t involve very large quantities of drugs. First time small dealers are almost always offered probation and/or some form of drug treatment, whether it be inpatient or outpatient. These are areas of negotiation with the district attorney. But many factors play into what the ultimate judgment is going to be. Your attorney should have a pretty good idea as to what the best possibility is in a particular case. Most good criminal lawyers have had many cases of this sort, and you get a pretty good idea as to what you can and cannot get from the district attorney without forcing a trial that you do not want.

Could My Attorney Have My Drug Charge Dropped To A Lesser Offense? What Does The Prosecutor Look At When Deciding If That Could Be An Option?

Often, a defense lawyer’s job is to show why the defendant should have a reduced plea and reduced sentence. These are things that are negotiated throughout the course of the case. However, the plea offer can go up as well. Therefore, a defense attorney really has to have a good understanding and feel in what the district attorney will or will not do in a particular case.

For more information on Criminal Defense, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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