If I am not guilty of a state jail felony drug charge and am offered drug court what do I do? 3 Answers as of August 11, 2011I was in a wreck and my boyfrieds friend was in the car with us and had a present box with a 1/2lb of marijuana in it which I did not know of and now I have the charge. I don't know what to do because it says I have to "judicially confess my guilt" and I am not guilty. Any advice?
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
I always tell my clients two things: One if you are NOT GUILTY then do not plea guilty. Technically, if you plea guilty to something when you are in fact, not guilty, you are committing the crime of perjury. More important, you should not accept punishment for something you did not do and keep in mind, in a case of possession, the State has to show "actual care, custody and control" of the contraband. Merely being in the presence of the drugs does not make them yours. How well were they "gift-wrapped"? Could someone tell what was in the package without removing the wrapper? Where was the wrapper removed, at the police station or on the side of the road? There are lots of questions here that make me think in terms of a potential motion to suppress the evidence. The second thing I tell my clients is that no lawyer can tell you to accept an offer or go to trial because at the end of the day, if you try a case and win, you will tell everyone you have a great lawyer, and if you loose, he or she will have dinner with family that night while you tell other inmates how he or she is not a good lawyer. Note, the other inmates, will most likely claim their lawyer(s) were worse than yours because they are right there with you. Bottom line, there are times when a person is innocent, an innocent person should always go to trial, it is better to be wrongfully convicted in a fair fight than to lie down and let the state drive a bus over you if you are innocent. A plea waives the right to appeal, later claim innocence, etc. There are also times when a person is "not quiet so innocent" and landed in the wrong place at the wrong time and "almost" got caught - this person has everything to gain and little to loose by trying the case. Finally, if truly guilty, that does not mean a defendant should plea, I have clients that are dead to rights guilty go to trial on principal (the State has to earn it) or on the gamble that the jury will give them less punishment than the DA is offering in exchange for a plea. It happens a lot more than you think. So, with all this in mind, if you are not guilty, don't plea. That is my suggestion, but keep in mind, my words that whatever attorney you hire goes home at night, even if you don't.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
Advise is the same that you have been offered on other forums. Listen to your trial lawyer or if you are not satisfied with that lawyer (which I would not be if that lawyer was telling me to plead guilty if I were not guilty UNLESS the lawyer could outline the reasons to plead guilty v. go to trial and take a chance on getting prison time). No lawyer on any of these help sites can tell you what to do without having reviewed your entire case - all the evidence, talked to the witnesses, etc.
Answer Applies to: Texas