John Helms, a Dallas Crime Defense Attorney, answers the following question: My Spouse is not a drug dealer. He has a regular job. How can they charge him with this?
Many people are completely shocked when their spouse is arrested on federal drug charges. As far as they know, their spouse has a regular job that has nothing to do with drug dealing. They do not know anything about their spouse being involved with drugs in any way. Of course, they do not want to believe that their spouse could be involved in anything illegal. Sometimes, they wonder whether the Government may be trying to set up their spouse so that they can charge the person with a crime that the person did not commit.
Many people who hire me to represent their loved one tell me that their spouse is not a drug dealer. They are afraid that their spouse is being accused of being someone that they just are not. They are confused, and they do not understand why their spouse is being singled out. They want to know why the government is not going after real drug dealers.
All of these are very understandable concerns. Federal drug charges are extremely serious, and having a loved one arrested raises a lot of fears for spouses and their families, especially if the spouse who was arrested has been the one providing support for the family.
It is important to understand that, when a person is arrested for possession with intent to distribute drugs or conspiracy to distribute drugs, this does not necessarily mean that the government thinks the person’s entire life is being a drug dealer. A person can be charged with a federal drug crime even if they have only been involved in one or two drug deals or if all they have done is carry drugs from one person to another. In other words, people who are not full-time drug dealers can be charged with federal drug crimes. This is because it is illegal to make only one drug deal or to carry drugs for someone even one time.
To many people, this does not seem fair. Why can someone who has had little involvement with drug dealing be charged with the same crime as a drug kingpin? The answer is that the crime is the same, but the punishment will be different.
The first question, of course, is whether the government can really prove that the accused is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To answer that, I have to study and evaluate the facts and the government’s evidence.
If the accused is found guilty, though, the issue becomes what the punishment will be. Sentencing in the federal system is complicated, but the law recognizes that someone who has a small role or little involvement should get a shorter sentence than someone who is an organizer or a leader of drug trafficking activity. Part of my job as a criminal defense lawyer is to make sure that, if my client is convicted, the court is aware of my client’s real role and not some exaggerated role that the government may try to claim. I also present facts that show that my client is really a good person who is not defined by one or a few bad choices.
It is much easier, however, to say that someone is a good person than to prove it with facts and evidence that can convince a judge who has heard it all before. This is where experience and hard work come in. A really good criminal defense lawyer has to have the experience to know what kinds of facts will persuade a judge, the dedication to find them, and the knowledge of the law to be able to prove them.
Good lawyers know that the outcome of a case affects not only the client, but also the client’s family. Even if someone has been found guilty of a federal drug crime, there are many ways that a good criminal defense lawyer can help to make sure they get a fair sentence so that they can return to their family as soon as possible.
In the future, I will cover topics such as those listed below:
-bond- how and when is it set and what can a criminal defense attorney do to help?
-what if they didn’t find anything
-what if he did not have drugs on him
-will they arrest me too?