Typical Drug Scenarios
Interviewer: Let me ask you this: is there a typical scenario that occurs when it comes to a drug case? What’s your typical situation as far as with clients that you’re dealing with? How do they usually get caught?
John Reade: A lot of times, someone gets stopped in a car and a police officer says, “Do you have any drugs in the car?” The person says yes. Then a police officer asks for consent to search, the person gives consent, the police officer finds some drugs in the car, and then they get charged with a crime.
Interviewer: Aside from that, could the police officer be looking into a possible driving under the influence conviction as well. Can a police officer stop someone because of a traffic infraction?
John Reade: Yes, usually a police officer will say, “You didn’t stop at the stop sign.”“You were speeding.”“You didn’t stay within your lane of travel.” A person driving usually gets stopped for a traffic infraction.
Interviewer: Now, let’s talk about the process. What’s going to happen after they get arrested?
John Reade: Typically, if a person is charged with a crime (and not a traffic infraction/violation) the police officer will arrest them, bring them to the jail, and then they will have to post money to get out of jail or, if it is not a serious charge, the person may be released before they even appear before a judge with certain conditions for their release. The typical release conditions are remain a law-abiding citizen, and not possess or use any substance without a valid prescription from a doctor, and make all court appearances, etc. That is called a conditional release. There is also a security release where the person has to post bail in order to get out of jail. For example, if it is a marijuana possession case and the person does not appear in court on the day they were suppose to then a judge issues a warrant for their arrest.
Interviewer: What are they going to have to do upon meeting with you? What’s their initial arraignment like? What do they have to do?
John Reade: The initial arraignment is where the judge tells the person what they are charged with, what the maximum penalties are, and what their rights are – their right to remain silent and that anything they say can and will be used against them; their right to an attorney and if they can not afford one then their right to a court appointed attorney, their right to subpoena witnesses to testify on their behalf; the right to cross-examine any witnesses called to testify against them; the right to a trial before a judge or a jury; and the right to a speedy trial if they want one.
The judge also explains that the state has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is sometimes referred to as a moral certainty. That is generally what happens at the first court appearance, known as an arraignment. The judge basically tells the person what all their rights are, and asks a person if they want an attorney.