The Mitigating Factors For A Drug Related Case

Interviewer: What would you say are some things that would help someone’s case? When working with a drug case, what are some things someone should do after the arrest?

Glen Malia: The bottom line is anything that helps themselves is you should keep your mouth shut.  Everyone knows about the Miranda Warnings and you never admit to anything. You keep your mouth shut and tell the police officer you want to speak to your lawyer and then the police officer can’t question you, don’t consent to him searching the vehicle.  That doesn’t mean that the officer is not going to search the vehicle but if you don’t consent, if you say, “No, you can’t search the vehicle”, and the officer doesn’t have the legal right to search it anyway and searches the vehicle, there’s a possibility that any drugs found in the car would not be able to be used against you in trial.

It is Important to Determine if the Defendant Has a Substance Abuse Problem

After being arrested, the best thing you can do to help your case is to get evaluated for some sort of program and whether you have a substance abuse problem, and if you do have a substance abuse problem, get in a program because now that you’ve been arrested, your case is in court and it’s up to the DA’s office to decide how the case will proceed and frequently one of the things they will look at is whether or not the defendant needs treatment in terms of deciding what level of offense to offer if they’re going to offer anything.  So, if you get into a program, it shows that you don’t need treatment and it helps you out. Obviously, after the arrest, you need to get an attorney as soon as possible; always go to court with an attorney and then follow the instructions of the attorney and follow the instructions of the court.

It is Advisable for an Individual Not to Consent to Illegal Search and Seizures

Interviewer: What should someone know about illegal search and seizures?

Glen Malia: The only thing an individual should know about illegal searches and seizures is not to consent to a police officer searching a vehicle, a person or their house. Search & seizure law is so complicated and so complex that the average person shouldn’t determine whether or not the cop had the right to search him, you should just say, “No, I do not consent”. Then it’s left to the defense attorney to raise the issue, have the hearing and the court, after hearing, to determine whether or not it was a legal search. Searches and seizures are so complex that many judges, many prosecutors, many lawyers don’t even know the answer until after a hearing is held to find out what the police officer actually did and there may be grounds that are not apparent on its face when the police searched the vehicle. 

Search and Seizure Laws are Very Complicated in the State of New York

Usually, when we’re dealing with drug case, we’re usually talking about vehicles but they may not be, you know, but if the defendant consents, if the owner of the vehicle consents to search the vehicle, then there is no grounds to have the search thrown out whether or not the police officer had grounds to stop the vehicle, whether or not the police officer had any suspicion to ask the motorist whether he could search the vehicle, or whether or not the police have the ground to search the vehicles if the owner of the car or the driver gave consent to search, it doesn’t really make a difference. So, the thing that the average person needs to know is always say no, the Ronald Reagan/Nancy Reagan way to fight drugs, “Just say No”.

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