An arrest for drug possession can have more serious consequences than you think. A first-offense drug possession conviction in Rhode Island comes with potential penalties of up to three years in prison and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.
You may be required to attend a drug treatment program or participate in community service. Having a drug conviction on your record can also seriously harm your future job or educational prospects or ruin your reputation among friends and family.
These are harsh penalties for drug possession, especially if you only possessed a small amount that you were using for your own consumption.
Alternatives to jail time
Although you can potentially go to jail for a drug possession conviction, there are other options that may be available to you. The Rhode Island Superior Court has a diversion program, which involves having your case dismissed if you complete certain steps.
Fortunately, there are many things that can result in your drug possession charge being dismissed entirely. The prosecution must prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Challenging the evidence
This requires evidence. All evidence must be obtained legally and properly by the police during your arrest and cannot be tampered with throughout the court process.
The testing procedures for any substance you were caught possessing are complex and require many steps. A mistake in the testing procedure or missing a step could dismantle the prosecution’s entire case.
Protecting your rights
You have many legal rights that must be protected. A violation of any of these rights could be a strong defense against your charge.
The Rhode Island criminal court process can be overwhelming and confusing. The prosecution counts on you feeling this way, as well as being intimidated by having to deal with the court system.
Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side through the process can make a huge difference. An attorney can analyze the details of your case and design a strategy that can potentially reduce or dismiss the charge.