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The Criminal Process



The criminal process is something that usually begins with an arrest in most criminal cases. Drug crimes, however, are unlike most criminal cases in the sense that the criminal process of these offenses generally begins before the arrest - it can begin with an investigation. The investigation regarding a potential offense related to any type of illegal drug will be conducted at the local, state or federal level, as the federal government has regulations on drug offenses as well. Even at the beginning stages of the criminal process is it important to have an attorney at your side; one mistake by the investigators can lead to the evidence being thrown out and the case dismissed.

For criminal cases that begin with the arrest, an officer will need probable cause to search your property or person. In some instances, this demands a search warrant. In others, however, evidence may be sustained due to a reasonable belief by the police that a person is trafficking drugs, for example. Once arrested, your rights (Miranda Rights) will be read to you under the Fifth Amendment and you will be processed and booked. At this specific moment, it is your responsibility and right to protect yourself from self-incrimination; you should remain silent and refrain from providing any information to the officers or investigators. After you have been booked and a complaint has been filed with the court, an arraignment will take place.


At the arraignment, it is in your best interest to have your attorney on your side. If bail is an option, it will be set at this hearing, and it may range depending on the crime committed and your potential flight risk. Additionally, a judge may decide to charge you with even more charges depending upon the current evidence available. For example, if you were arrested for the possession of marijuana with a large amount of the illegal drug in your possession, a judge may decide to charge you with possession with the intent to sell at the arraignment on top of your current charges.

After the arraignment, you will then move on to the preliminary hearing at which your attorney can present additional evidence and challenge the validity of the arrest. During this time, your Fort Lauderdale drug crime lawyer can contest that your Fourth or Fifth Amendment Rights were violated due to an officer's behavior during the investigation, search and seizure, arrest, or any part leading up to the arrest. If the judge decides that this information is enough to declare a violation of your rights, the charges may be dropped. If not, the case will continue to move forward.


The trial portion of the criminal process begins with the selection of a jury by both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. After this time, witnesses will be called upon and evidence will be presented to the jury after both sides have made their opening arguments. After much debate between the defense and prosecution, the closing arguments will be made and the jury must begin deliberation. In order for a conviction to be made, the jury must find that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt - this decision must also be unanimous. After the decision has been made, the defendant will have an opportunity to appeal the decision if it results in a conviction.

If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, ranging from possession to cultivation to distribution, you need the help of an experienced law firm on your side for the criminal process. At Parks & Braxton, PA, our team has over 50 years of combined experience in criminal law that applies to your specific drug crime charges. We handle virtually all drug crime cases and can provide you with a free consultation to learn more about your rights. No matter what charges you are facing, you need the help of an attorney to avoid a conviction at the end of the criminal process. We have already successfully handled hundreds of cases, and we are ready for yours today!

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