Defense of Marijuana and Drug Crimes

Posted on Jan 8, 2014

Aggressive Defense of Marijuana
and
Other Louisiana Drug Crimes

Marijuana and other drug charges often carry serious consequences that can have a long-term impact on both you and your family. The attorneys of Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips, L.L.C., provide aggressive felony and misdemeanor criminal defense for clients throughout Louisiana, including metropolitan New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. Our practice focuses on defense against marijuana-based charges.

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related crime or other drug offense, it is essential to protect your rights.

How to exercise your rights when you are stopped by the police.

•  “You have the right to remain silent.”

• “Anything that you say may be used against you in a court of law.”

• “You have the right to consult with an attorney. 

• “You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning.”

“You have the right to have an attorney appointed at no cost to represent you if you cannot afford one.”

 

These are important rights which you should exercise whether you are innocent or guilty. Many citizens believe that if you answer questions you may avoid being arrested. But: You should consult with an attorney before you decide to waive your legal rights and even before you make a statement.

 

If the police approach you:

♦ Be polite. Stay calm. Stop. Don’t run. Don’t make sudden movements.

♦ Keep your hands out of your pockets.

♦ DON’T ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS…except your name, address and birthdate.

♦ Give your name and show your identification when you are asked to do so.

♦ Don’t give a fake name or false identification.

♦ Invoke your constitutional Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

♦ DO NOT CONSENT TO BE SEARCHED.

♦ Do not try to talk your way out, and don’t banter with the officer.

If you are stopped in your vehicle:

♦ Turn off your engine.

♦ Open the window and keep your hands exposed.

♦ Don’t throw anything out of the automobile.

♦ BE POLITE.

♦ DO NOT CONSENT TO SEARCH YOUR CAR OR YOUR PERSON.

♦ If the officer gives you a traffic ticket, sign the notice to appear.

♦ The more you talk the more trouble you getting yourself into.

♦ DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS (except your name, address, birthdate).

♦ Produce drivers license, registration and insurance papers upon request.

            Here’s what you should do in advance, to prevent problems:

♦ Keep current registration and insurance information in your vehicle.

♦ Don’t smoke marijuana in your car.

♦ Keep your car clean, with no drugs or paraphernalia.

♦ Pay all parking tickets.

If the police come to your residence:

♦ Answer the door.

♦ Be polite.

♦ Ask to see the search warrant and read the warrant.

♦ DO NOT CONSENT TO ENTRY UNLESS THERE IS A WARRANT.

♦ Do not resist or obstruct.

♦ Let them search if they have a warrant.

♦ DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS…DEMAND LAWYER.

If you are given a summons:

♦ Sign it. Your signature means that you acknowledge that you may be charged with a criminal offense, but it doesn’t mean that you are agreeing to anything. By signing a summons you may avoid being arrested.

If you are arrested:

♦ Don’t resist. Don’t get angry. Stay calm.

♦ Don’t demand to know what you are being arrested for. The police aren’t required to tell you.

♦ DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS. State “I want a lawyer.”

♦ When you get a phone call in jail, remember that all calls are recorded.

♦ Don’t discuss arrest on the phone. Keep your conversation short. Don’t use code words.

♦ Stay calm. Hopefully your family can get you out on a bond.

♦ Don’t talk about your case to other inmates. Snitches are listening.

♦ GET A LAWYER.

         When you meet with a lawyer:

♦ Talk to them. Listen to them. They want to help you.

♦ No money? There are lots of good hard-working Public Defenders.

♦ Be sure to speak with a lawyer before you go to court.

♦ Do not plead guilty or go to trial without a lawyer.

♦ Stay in touch with your lawyer…and don’t act like a jerk.

WHAT SHOULD I SAY IF THE OFFICER ASKS ME QUESTIONS?

It’s okay to give your name, address, and date of birth. Politiely say “I exercise my right to remain silent. I would like to have an attorney with me before I answer any questions.”

IF I AM INNOCENT, WHY SHOULDN’T I ANSWER QUESTIONS?

Because even if you are innocent, you may say something that could incriminate you unknowingly. You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise that right!

WHAT IF THE OFFICER THREATENS TO ARREST ME IF I DON’T ANSWER QUESTIONS?

If the deputy is going to arrest you, there is nothing you can say which will prevent it

WON’T IT APPEAR THAT I AM GUILTY IF I REFUSE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS? 

The Police know that you have the right to remain silent. Exercising your right to remain silent is important in the long run: having a favorable outcome in court.

CAN I DO ANYTHING TO TRY TO AVOID BEING ARRESTED, WITHOUT ANSWERING QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE ACCUSATION?

You may ask for a “Summons” instead of being arrested.

IF I AM ASKED TO SIGN A SUMMONS, SHOULD I SIGN IT?

Yes.  You are not acknowledging guilt.  You are only agreeing to appear in court.

DO I NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT MY FIRST COURT APPEARANCE?

Your first court appearance may either be a “bond-setting” or “arraignment.”  Representation is advised.

Remember: you have rights. But these rights are useless if you choose to ignore them.

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related crime or other drug offense, it is essential to protect your rights. Contact us online or call 504-524-5555 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation. We promptly return all calls.

Our firm has the knowledge and insight necessary to provide an effective defense and representation. One of our attorneys, William E. Rittenberg, is a founding member of the Legal Committee of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

We will defend against state or federal drug charges including:

  • Possession
  • Possession with intent to distribute
  • Sale
  • Cultivation
  • Distribution
  • Trafficking

We also handle expungements of arrests and convictions.

Rely on Our Experience to Protect Your Rights

If you are convicted of a crime involving marijuana or other illegal drugs, the consequences can be severe. You may face a felony criminal record that can follow you for the rest of your life. Depending on the number of your prior convictions and the seriousness of your current offense, you could be sentenced to prison, from several months to years. A drug-related conviction can also jeopardize your professional reputation and licensure, future employment, and ties with family and friends. You may also be subject to steep fines and risk losing the right to vote and the right to carry firearms.

Aggressive Defense Representation

Our firm is dedicated to helping you understand and protect your rights. We are skilled negotiators and zealous courtroom advocates. We will thoroughly examine the evidence against you and develop an aggressive legal strategy. We will identify and attack all weaknesses in the State’s case and raise all applicable challenges.

If you are a first-time offender, options such as diversion can allow for dismissal of your case after a probationary period. We will work hard to get your case dismissed, but if conviction is unavoidable, we will strive to minimize the penalties you face.

Straightforward Counsel You Can Trust

Committed to providing responsive representation, we will always be direct with you. Our goal is to take the mystery out of the legal process, so we will explain the charges and evidence against you, present your options and explain the pros and cons of each. Our goal is to give you the information you need to make important decisions.

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contact us online or call 504-524-5555. We promptly return all calls. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, with off-site meetings available by appointment.