There are countless attorneys whose entire practice is devoted to defending those accused of drug related crimes, due to the prolific recreational use of drugs in this country. There are also so called “DUI” lawyers because of the frequency of DUI arrests and prosecutions. Competition within such areas of law is fierce and requires extensive advertising, which causes otherwise good attorneys to run “mills” where, in order to cover the overhead, the focus must be on signing up new clients rather than serving the needs of existing ones.
With this in mind, remember that all crimes are litigated in the same way, from quantum and burdens of proof, to law and motion, to jury selection. All crimes, including DUIs and drug crimes, break down in to simple “elements” each of which must be proved by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. Expert witnesses provide the specialized knowledge for the jury. As the judge instructs the jury at every trial, “what the lawyers say is not evidence.”
Thus, the value of a good lawyer is not in his or her knowledge of crimes charged. A lawyer’s ability to effectively cross examine a witness, or question potential jurors, is worth far more to a defendant than an encyclopedic knowledge of drug laws or gas chromatography. Because of his or her skills, a good trial lawyer understands the strengths and weaknesses of a case based mainly on the law of Evidence. This knowledge is invaluable in plea negotiations as well as at trial.
Links to Information for Anyone Charged with a Crime: