If you are stopped by an officer or have your home searched as part of a drug investigation and drugs are found, then you will likely be charged. Normally, drug charges start with simple possession and move up to other kinds of charges, like charges for transporting or distributing drugs.
It is possible to be overcharged based on the circumstances. For example, if you were in possession of a few prescription opioid pills that a friend gave you, you could be charged for drug possession. If you had them in a school zone, even if you weren’t with children, you may face heightened penalties. On top of that, you could be accused of intending to distribute those drugs, even if you didn’t really have enough to do that and weren’t doing anything to solicit others to speak to you.
Prosecutorial overcharging could threaten your freedoms
Prosecutorial overcharging happens in two ways. There is a horizontal overcharge or vertical overcharge. Horizontal overcharging happens when multiple charges come from a single incident. Vertical overcharging happens when similar charges applying to the case are applied to a single offense.
Why do prosecutors use overcharging techniques?
The main reason that prosecutors overcharge is to encourage you, the defendant, to take a guilty plea. Overcharging is highly frowned upon, because it’s not fair to intimidate a person to make them accept a guilty plea when they are not guilty of all or any of what they’re being accused of.
If your attorney looks at the charges and believes that you’ve been overcharged, they’ll tell you. They’ll also help you negotiate for a better plea deal, if you’re interested in that, or help you take your case to court to prove your innocence.
Knowing the law helps you avoid unfair prosecution
It’s worth looking over the facts of your case to determine what the actual charges should be to determine if there has been overcharging and how to move forward if a plea is offered. Your attorney will be there to help you determine the best course of action to protect your rights as you deal with this case.