Dallas, TX, Oct. 04, 2020 – If you have been accused of being involved in a pill mill conspiracy, you need the best criminal defense you can get. Pill mill allegations are extremely serious and can result in lengthy prison sentences for doctors, office managers, care givers, pharmacists, and others.
Having tried a pill mill case in federal court in the Northern District of Texas, I know that these cases can be very complicated. After all, they involve a doctor’s professional judgment about what a patient needs. Usually, they have to do with pain medication, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Pain management involves medical judgments about the patient’s symptoms. Judgment can be tricky, and it takes a skilled criminal defense lawyer to explain to a jury how something that may seem unusual can be explained by the judgment of a professional doctor.
Prosecutors in pill mill cases will typically use a wide variety of evidence, often including surveillance, medical records, pharmaceutical records, financial records, patient testimony, and expert testimony. In order to respond to all this evidence, a criminal defense lawyer must be able to organize it, understand how prosecutors will use it, understand how a jury will perceive it, and be able to counter it. As a highly experienced criminal trial lawyer who has tried a pill mill case, and as a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Texas, I am uniquely situated to do that.
Often, in pill mill cases, there is a lot for the defense to explain. The Government may put on evidence of conduct that looks bad on the surface, but is not bad at all once the jury understands the explanation. Medical judgment and the inner practices and procedures of a doctor’s office or a pharmacy come into play. Sometimes, an expert witness can provide that explanation. At other times, only the defendant can do so. That is why one of the most crucial decisions in a pill mill case is whether the defendant should testify.
A criminal defendant has the right not to testify under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, a defendant always has the right to testify in their own defense. The final decision about whether to testify does not have to be made until after the Government finishes putting on its case. At that point, the lawyer must decide whether the Government has really proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, the defendant’s testimony would not be necessary and could create the risk that might actually help the Government if the defendant does poorly. If the Government has probably met its burden, then the question is whether the defendant’s testimony would help or hurt. Ultimately, the lawyer’s job is to make the best evaluation based on years of experience of trying cases and a detailed knowledge of the facts. Also, the best lawyers will have practiced cross examining their clients to help prepare them, and this helps a lawyer gauge how the defendant will perform on the witness stand. Will they seem believable and credible, or will they seem like they are covering up or lying? A skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer will know. The choice about whether to testify, however, belongs only to the defendant. The lawyer cannot make the defendant testify or stop the defendant from testifying. The lawyer will try to help the defendant make the best possible decision, but the decision is the defendant’s.
If you or a loved one has been charged in a federal criminal pill mill conspiracy case in the Northern District of Texas, you should contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. When your livelihood, your future, and your freedom are at stake, choosing the right lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.
LAW OFFICE OF
JOHN M. HELMS
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Dallas, Tx 75244