The Severity Of The Apprehended Drugs Matter

Interviewer: Does the severity of the drug matter?

Glen Malia: Yes.  Absolutely, the severity of the drug matters because prosecutors are people too and when there is a serious drug problem going on. For example, throughout New York State, heroin’s made a huge come back and kids are literally dropping dead from overdoses. We’re talking about a lot of young people dropping dead of overdoses and so, when you have a drug like heroin or when you have a heroin charge, the district attorney’s office, because they’re people too, they’re parents too, are going to take a much more serious look at a heroin possession case and do what they can to make sure that this person gets into treatment and stuff like that. 

Less Serious Action is Taken for Low Potency Drugs Like Marijuana in New York

Sometimes, they do what they can to make sure this person is not on the street continuing to use heroin while this case is pending because of the nature of the drug. Whereas on a marijuana case and marijuana was obviously much more prevalent and people were not dropping dead of marijuana overdoses and stuff like that. I don’t want to say they take the case less seriously but they take less serious actions in terms of the bails and in terms of requiring treatment and things of that nature.  So, the severity of the drug absolutely matters.

The Importance of Retaining An Attorney for a Drug Related Case in New York

Interviewer: Is it important for someone to secure an attorney for this and what should they know also about?

Glen Malia: It’s very important to get an attorney because you’re charged with a crime and you could go to jail but it’s more important to hire an attorney who knows what they’re doing. A criminal defense attorney knows how to handle controlled substance cases and possession cases because there are so many issues involved, as I said earlier, a search and seizure issue, there are so many issues involved as to whether or not the police even have a right to search the defendant and get that controlled substance. There are so many different types of ways to address a case.  The experienced defense attorney will know which judges are better, what the judges’ attitudes are to certain charges, what the prosecutors’ attitudes are to certain charges, that’s why I say it’s extremely important not only to get an attorney but to get an attorney that knows what he or she is doing and generally speaking in the local where the case is pending.

It is a Basic Constitutional Right for a Citizen to Have Legal Representation in Court

The reason why people who cannot afford an attorney are given an attorney at taxpayers’ expense in criminal matters is that it is just so important that someone who knows what they’re doing, someone who knows the court system and is trained to represent an individual is assisting that person in that criminal defense and so that’s why -- I can’t say any more than that as to why it’s so important.  I mean it’s basic constitutional right that you have an attorney represent you in a criminal matter, that’s how serious it is and to have an experienced attorney in that area who knows how to defend these cases, who knows the possible defenses, who knows the prosecutors and the judges is extremely important.

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