Being arrested in Illinois and charged with drug crimes can be a confusing and scary experience. Not many people have a lot of experience with law enforcement. You may not be sure what to do when arrested.
There are many facets to drug crimes and the subsequent charges that can stem from them if you are ultimately charged – but that’s something to worry about later with the guidance of your attorney.
In the immediate aftermath of an arrest, there are certain mistakes you will want to avoid which could impact your case later. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make during a drug arrest in Illinois. We hope this helps you avoid them.
Mistake No. 1: You Answer the Police
It can seem like a good idea at the moment to attempt to explain your way out of trouble, but it’s not a good tactic to take when dealing with the police. You may be smart and clever, but without a true understanding of the law and how things function, you may only serve to get yourself into more trouble.
In short, too much unguarded talking may make the case you have to fight down the road more difficult. Don’t focus on trying to explain your innocence to the police. Instead, seize upon the right to remain silent until you can consult with your attorney.
Mistake No. 2: Talking on the Phone
If you are in police custody, you should never talk about your case through the phone, even through a phone when someone is visiting you in jail. It is the right of prosecutors to listen to these calls and whatever transpires during visits to the jail. So you could be setting yourself up for difficulty if you make comments connected to your case over the phone. Never talk about what happened, period.
Mistake No. 3: Don’t Take a Deal
You may be tempted to accept a deal from the prosecutor early in the process just to get out of jail, but that’s normally a mistake. You may not want to spend time in jail waiting for your day in court, but that’s not a good reason to put your future on the line and accept a deal that is unfair to you.
If you do make a deal, you waive your right to:
- A trial
- An attorney
- Confront those who accused you
- Make the state prove their case against you
That’s a lot to give up, so it isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Never admit guilt without first consulting with an attorney.
Mistake No. 4: Not Getting a Lawyer
Have an attorney on your side who has dealt with drug cases similar to yours and who has dealt with prosecutors in your area. This is something that is priceless. You may be tempted to represent yourself to save some money, but understand: That’s almost always a bad idea.
You don’t know the rules of evidence, for example, or what is or isn’t admissible in a trial. An experienced lawyer does and will put that knowledge to work for you. They’ll help ensure that you understand the charges against you and your rights in the legal system, and they’ll fight for the best outcome in your case.
If you are arrested on drug charges, then remain silent and contact an attorney as soon as you can. This will be the best option for you. It won’t allow the police to gather evidence that can be used against you.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.