Criminal Defense Latest Articles
Request a Free Consultation

Specializing in Drug, Weapons, Assault, Theft, DUI, Property and Fraud Cases

Drug Crime Attorney: What Makes a Good One?

Drug Crime Attorney In Michigan

If you’re charged with a criminal drug related offense, hiring a drug crime attorney who has significant experience in drug prosecutions is extremely necessary.

The charge could include drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute, or just possession of a controlled substance.

When drugs are involved, there are issues and defenses that are exclusive to these cases.

Facing drug charges? Unhappy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation now.

It takes a special type of personality to defend drug cases.

It’s different from an assault or theft case.

Quite frankly, a winning drug defense lawyer has to be cunning, strategic and willing to work harder, but also smarter. Here are the reasons why:

Drug Crime Attorneys Have Specialized Defenses

There are a couple issues that are always present in drug defense cases.

Search and seizure, the determination of whether there was legal possession, and entrapment are all very common.

These issues can be complicated, where protocol mainly originates from case law.

If an attorney is not practicing drug cases regularly, they’re likely to miss several important legal issues detailed below, which kill the defense.

Search and Seizure

There’s almost always a search in every drug case.

It may be a consent search, search incident to arrest, a search warrant, or a plain view search.

Any search without a warrant is unconstitutional, as it’s a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

This is incredibly important to remember.

The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Cases with constitutional issues at stake are taken more seriously. Therefore, your lawyer should argue them very eloquently and precisely.

The criminal defense lawyer must know what they’re talking about, or they’ll lose all credibility.

This is why a drug crime attorney must be a constitutional scholar.

Every warrantless search is unlawful, unless it falls under the lawful search warrant exception.

When an exception doesn’t exist, the evidence is automatically excluded.

Without the evidence, the case must be dismissed.

At our law firm, we have the LaFave Search and Seizure Treatise.

It’s a six volume set that is updated every year and costs more than $1,000.

To a drug defense lawyer, they’re a must-have and worth every penny.

There’s gold in these books that help drug crime attorneys ensure success, when other lawyers can’t.

Additionally, searches of vehicles are very common in drug cases.

A drug defense lawyer must be familiar with the special rules that exist specifically for automobile cases.

Cars are mobile and therefore, subject to special rules regarding search and seizure.

Reporting of a Drug Overdose

Any report of a possible drug overdose is protected by an automatic statutory affirmative defense, which is called the Good Samaritan law.

For example; if someone is passed out in their car from drug use and the police are called to render assistance, any charges from that incident can be dismissed, even if drugs are found in the car.

Typically, lawyers who don’t specialize in drug cases aren’t even aware of this law.

There are countless other examples that a creative drug defense lawyer can apply to this defense.

Possession Defenses

Did you know that the definition of possession means that you must also have knowledge or the drug’s presence?

This means that the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew the drugs were there, and that they knew there were drugs.

If the defendant didn’t make any statements, that can be hard to prove by the prosecutor.

Many lawyers forget or overlook the simplest of defenses.


It’s a fact that the overwhelming majority of drug investigations involve law enforcement investigations with the use of an informant. Informants usually get something, such as a dismissal or their charges or promise of no jail time, in return for their cooperation.

This means that people will do anything, including being dishonest.

The police will use them to entrap others.

Unfair law enforcement techniques and investigations happen all the time.

Some police believe they’re above the law and try to get away with breaking the rules since to them, “the guy is guilty anyway.”

Drug defense lawyers can easily identify when law enforcement is being shady.

Ever wonder why drug cops don’t record everything?

It’s not because they don’t have the equipment; it’s because they don’t want to expose their shady operations. This is the first sign of a potential entrapment.

Facing drug charges? Unhappy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation now.

Insider Knowledge for Drug Cases

Snitch Cases

In drug cases, law enforcement frequently use informants or cooperating defendants.

Known colloquially as “snitches,” these are people that testify against a defendant in return for something.

It’s usually a reduced jail sentence, dismissal of charges, or money.

A solid drug crime attorney can use special strategies against a snitch.

They usually don’t have the best credibility, and they don’t want to go to jail.

Therefore, they have every motivation to lie.

A good drug crime attorney knows how to effectively cross- examine a snitch.

Specialized Drug Task Forces

The Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) in Oakland County, County of Macomb Enforcement Team (COMET), Flint Area Narcotics Group (FANG), Monroe Area Narcotics Team (MANTIS).

These are just some of the drug task forces here in Michigan.

They comprise groups of drug cops from multiple jurisdictions that work together to cover a larger area.

These groups specialize in, and only perform drug investigations that serve the prosecuting attorney’s special drug units.

If the cops and prosecutors have their own special drug teams, the defendant should have a special drug defense lawyer too.

We know these special drug prosecutors and cops.

We know which ones have the worst reputations, and we know which ones are more likely to be dirty.

If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, it’s hard to identify the right defense strategy.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Cases

Unlike other criminal defense lawyers, a drug crime attorney also knows how to defend civil asset forfeiture charges that often accompany drug charges.

You have to be careful.

Prosecutors often use civil asset forfeiture cases, with its civil procedure rules which are different from criminal, to try to trick the defense lawyer; many of whom never practiced any civil law.

A good drug defense lawyer knows how to litigate the civil asset forfeiture case expertly as well.

This is especially important, because civil asset forfeitures are very common in drug cases.

Federal Drug Conspiracy Cases

A good drug defense lawyer must have experience defending complex conspiracy cases in federal court.

Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) are often prosecuted with conspiracy in violation of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

These federal prosecutions, usually involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), often involve investigations that last for months or even years.

The discovery is voluminous, which means that the prosecution strategies are much more sophisticated.

They always involve massive kilogram quantities of controlled substances.

That’s why only very experienced drug defense lawyers take these cases.

Most lawyers are scared to take these cases due to their complexity and the serious penalties that defendants face (10-20 year sentences are common).

If a defense lawyer does well with federal drug conspiracy cases, the state ones are a piece of cake.

Need a drug crime attorney to fight for you? Book your free consultation now.

Save Money By Not Switching Lawyers

When you hire the wrong lawyer, it always costs you.

There is, of course, the money wasted on a lawyer that isn’t qualified to handle the case.

They never refund you the money, either.

Additionally, there’s time that’s wasted.

Unnecessary court appearances will cause you to miss work and family obligations. The court and prosecutor are also inconvenienced when they “start over” with a new lawyer.

The new lawyer is also limited with time, which rushes the process.

Hiring the right lawyer, one who specializes in drug crime defense, is necessary from the start of the case.

Hiring a cheap lawyer will cost you in the long run, and may likely lead to an unnecessary prison sentence.

Results To Expect From a Drug Crime Attorney

When a jail or prison sentence isn’t an option, you need to hire the right lawyer who understands that.

Also, avoid felony charges at all costs.

This is a very realistic outcome if your lawyer litigates the drug case properly, especially if you don’t have a prior drug felony record.

Additionally, they’re able to dismiss a case “on technicality.”

Evidence is excluded whenever there’s police misconduct or when someone’s constitutional rights are violated.

Even when someone is “guilty,” that case is dismissed.

What Happens When You Don’t Hire a Drug Crime Attorney?

When a defendant doesn’t have a drug defense attorney, guilty pleas to the prosecutor’s first offer are common.

They don’t know what to do otherwise, since they usually think there are no other options.

Defendants often waste their money hiring cheap, non-drug defense lawyers.

This is why hiring an experienced drug crime attorney is worth the money.

Your life, liberty, freedom and felony-free record is worth every penny charged by a lawyer who knows how to fight (and win) drug cases.

Drug defense specialists greatly improve the chances of the defense’s success.

Remember; the best results only happen with a good attorney.

Facing drug charges? Unhappy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation now.

Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
author avatar
Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
Call Us Now Message Us