The Silverman Law Group
501 North IH-35
Austin, Texas 78702
If your appointment is scheduled in Houston, the address is:
917 Franklin, 4th Floor
Houston, Texas 77002 (713)526-1515
DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to provide basic information about the firm and selected legal topics. The information contained at this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not create any professional relationship with the Silverman Law Group.
This website is not intended for the purpose of offering legal advice. Each person's legal needs are unique. Laws and the court's interpretation of those laws change frequently, and it is possible that some of the information at this site may no longer be accurate. Additionally, the Courts in your area may interpret those laws differently than set out herein. You should consult with an attorney familiar with the laws in your area and discuss the particular facts before making the specific legal decisions.
The Truth About Drug Charges
Drug Charges Must be Taken Seriously
To find proof that our priorities as a society are misplaced, one need look no further than our treatment of controlled substances and those who use, possess, and distribute them. In Texas, child rape and armed robbery are first degree felony offenses. As such they are punishable by between five years and ninety-nine years or life imprisonment. A person convicted of these offenses who has no prior felony convictions is eligible for community supervision or probation from a jury upon conviction. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary of a habitation are second degree felony offenses. The range of punishment for these crimes is from two to twenty years imprisonment. First offenders may receive probation from either a judge or jury if convicted.
Possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), or similar controlled substance with the intent to deliver is punishable by no less than fifteen years and up to life imprisonment.
First offenders are not eligible for probation. How can that be? How can rape of a child be punished less harshly than possession of drugs? These are questions that any sane, fair minded person is compelled to ask. The answer is as close as your nearest polling place. No politician ever lost votes in an election by appearing too tough on crime. Unlike most issues our lawmakers face, until recently, there has been no real opposition voiced to tougher and tougher drug laws. Its not like drug users had a lobby or a PAC. Its not like those most likely to become victims of our insane war on drugs had any voice at all in the legislative process. What an easy group to beat up on. What a great way to get re-elected. (You should see how they cry when their own kids become ensnared in the system they created).
More and more society is waking up. In the last year, punishments for crack and powder cocaine in federal court have been normalized eliminating the 100 to 1 multiplier used to punish crack as if there were 100 times the amount relative to powder cocaine. Sixteen states have legalized or decriminalized medical marijuana.
While this progress is certainly great news, it in no way heralds the end of the battle. People are still going to jail over grams of marijuana. Ten and twenty year sentences without parole for drug offenses are commonplace in our federal courts. Families are being destroyed on a daily basis. People who have lived in the United States their entire lives are being deported and banished for petty drug convictions.
DO NOT BE A VICTIM. DO NOT BECOME ANOTHER STATISTIC. JEWS KILLED AT THE END OF THE NAZI REIGN WERE JUST AS DEAD AS THOSE KILLED DURING HITLER'S HEYDAY.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you must prepare yourself to fight. Prosecutors don't let you off easy because they are your lawyer's friend or used to work with your lawyer when he was a prosecutor.
LAWYERS WITH FRIENDS IN THE DA'S OFFICE HAVE CLIENTS IN PRISON.
The only reason drug cases get dismissed is because prosecutors fear losing. It is up your lawyer to instill this fear in your prosecutor. There are only two ways to do this: (1) Prepare each case as if it were your only one, and (2) Possess the track record and the reputation of having cleaned their clock before. Nothing foretells success in drug defense like past success.
LOOK AT THESE REAL CASE RESULTS
1998: 10 Kilograms of Cocaine in the 351stDistrict Court of Harris County: NOT GUILTY from a Jury; (insert Pics indictment and verdict)
1999: Houston Psychiatrist's Assault Conviction Reversed on Appeal; CASE DISMISSED
2000: First Degree Felony Crack Cocaine JURY TRIAL NOT GUILTY Trial Court Judge: Former Chief of Police Sam Nuchia commended Jury on having reached the right decision
2001: 4 Kilogram Federal Cocaine Conspiracy and Possession of a Weapon in Furtherance of a Drug Crime: NOT GUILTY JURY VERDICT. Case was tried before David Hittner. TRIAL BEGAN ON 9-11. NOT GUILTY ON 9-14.
2002: 20 Kilograms of Cocaine: Conviction Reversed on Appeal: Case Dismissed.
2003: 1 Kilogram of Cocaine: Conviction Reversed on Appeal: CASE DISMISSED
2003: 4 Kilograms of Cocaine in Harris County State Court: NOT GUILTY FROM A JURY
2004: 3.5 Million Dollar Louisiana Federal Money Seizure and Money Laundering Case: (Largest cash seizure in history of Louisiana) MOTION TO SUPPRESS GRANTED, CASE DISMISSED. Defendant rejected time served in exchangefor snitching and WON.
2005: Federal Felon with a Weapon charge against reputed Boss of Major Prison Gang: NOT GUILTY from the Judge. (Case was tried to a jury, but the Judge declined to submit the case to the jury and found the Accused NOT GUILTY).
2006: Canadian Lawyer Found NOT GUILTY OF THEFT OF $100,000.00 BY JURY in joint State Federal Frame up. LAWYER REJECTED TIME SERVED ON MISDEMEANOR, then found NOT GUILTY.
2007: Habitual Criminal (4 prior felonies) founds NOT GUILTY BY A JURY in Harris County of POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE COCAINE found behind the stove in his house. The accused had the only key.
2008: THE LARGEST FEDERAL NOT GUILTY VERDICT ON A DRUG CASE IN the United States in 2008: 200,000 DOSES OF MDMA and 25 KILOGRAMS OF COCAINE. (Just look at these pictures).
2009: 3,000 pounds of marijuana dismissed when we busted the Fed's Snitch on an old murder charge.
2009: Possession of Cocaine: Motion to Suppress Granted During Jury Trial when cops caught by their own computers lying through their teeth
2009: 1,000 doses of Ecstasy dismissed.
2010: Norm has led an aggressive defense that secured dismissal of charges against 32 defendants in federal court in the Southern District of Florida. All of the defendants were Lebanese or had some Muslim connection. The government assumed because of their religious affiliation that they were terrorists, but after a year- long investigation there was no evidence that any of them were terrorists. So the government charged them with conspiracy to aid and abet the manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance and with conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia. None of the defendants possessed, manufactured or delivered any controlled substance.
I challenge any lawyer to compare their track record of dismissals and not guilty verdicts with mine. Every picture of drugs on this web site is from an actual not guilty verdict I have won. There are none of the stock photos of drugs you see permeating other lesser lawyers misguided efforts at internet self promotion. Most lawyers attempting to solicit your case have no earthly idea how to win it. The internet is full of posers who have never even tried a misdemeanor marijuana case, yet promise you “aggressive representation.” Dismissals occur for a variety of reasons. NOT GUILTY VERDICTS and GRANTED SUPPRESSION MOTIONS are the only real measure of a criminal defense lawyer's past performance. Ask prospective lawyers how many drug cases they have WON not gotten dismissed , but actually won, before you hire them. Ask how many times they have heard the words “ Not Guilty,” come from the mouths of Jury Forepersons. You will be shocked by the truth. Very few lawyers have the guts or the know how to go to trial and win. Do not be fooled into thinking that a long list of dismissed charges is necessarily indicative of great lawyering. It may well be especially if the lawyer also has a track record of NOT GUILTY VERDICTS and GRANTED MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS. However, cases can be dismissed because a witness is missing, the prosecutor forgot to issue a subpoena or send out a required notice, or any one of a multitude of reasons that amount to nothing more than the luck of the draw. DO NOT BET YOUR FUTURE ON THE LUCK OF THE DRAW.
REAL RESULTS are the only true predictor of future performance. CONSISTENT, PROVEN, RESULTS – YEAR AFTER YEAR, and TRIAL AFTER TRIAL, are the foundation upon which my law practice is built. Nobody gave me anything. Nobody did me any favors. For the last sixteen years, I have taken justice for my clients in courtrooms across this state and across this country. When you meet with me, I will give you an honest opinion based upon your rendition of the facts. When you hire me, I will investigate all aspects of your case to find the weakness in the states case, and exploit it to your best legal advantage.
How I do it
You may have noticed that most lawyer web sites are full of fluff and promises but short on real facts. What exactly is your lawyer going to do for you and how does he mean to do it? Those are the questions that any reasonable and fair minded client would have. Those are answers you are entitled to have. I want you to understand what I do and why it works. If this information also serves to educate my competition; great: the smarter the lawyers the greater the quality of justice for all of us.
There are three main defenses to drug charges:
I. Illegal Search and Seizure: All searches must be based on either a warrant, probable cause + exigent circumstances, or consent.
(A) Search Warrants: Many lawyers feel that if the police had a warrant the search must be good. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. I love search warrants because of the FOUR CORNERS RULE.
The law requires that the search warrant application state probable cause for the search within its four corners. This means that the facts relied upon to establish probable cause cannot be changed later in court by a lying cop. Other lawyers call me weekly to have me review their search warrants. You should too.
(B) Probable Cause + Exigent Circumstances: This means simply that the police had both probable cause and some reasonable excuse to explain their failure to get a warrant. They stop you while driving, and smell the odor of burnt marijuana, for example. The smell is the probable cause and the mobility of the car is the exigency. But there are limits to this rule. The police may not create their own exigency. For example, the may not enter your home based upon the smell of marijuana alone. Call me to learn more about this rule and see where your case falls.
(C) Consent: A person should never consent to a search. If you did consent, all hope is not lost. Consent must be a free and voluntary act. Threats to charge others, take one's children to CPS, or call immigration all can render a consent involuntary. Likewise, a consent that is given only after an illegal arrest or detention may not be legally valid. Call me to examine your case whether or not you “consented.”
II. Involvement of a Snitch
Many, if not most drug cases today, are the direct result of snitches. Confidential informers, confidential informants, confidential sources, source of information, cooperating witnesses, whatever name the government likes to give them, they are all really just snitches. They will routinely lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want from the government. Sometimes its a dismissal of their own case, sometimes a friend's or relative's case. Sometimes, its a reduction in their sentence and sometimes its cash money. Whatever the motivation,. A WITNESS PAID IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. In the words of the Supreme Court of the United States,
“The use of informants to investigate and prosecute persons engaged in clandestine criminal activity is fraught with peril. This hazard is a matter "capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned," and thus of which we can take judicial notice. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2); cf. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27, 104 S.Ct. 3194, 3200, 82 L.Ed.2d 393 (1984) (illegal activities of prisoners subject to judicial notice).
By definition, criminal informants are cut from untrustworthy cloth and must be managed and carefully watched by the government and the courts to prevent them from falsely accusing the innocent, from manufacturing evidence against those under suspicion of crime, and from lying under oath in the courtroom. As Justice Jackson said forty years ago,"The use of informers, accessories, accomplices, false friends, or any of the other betrayals which are 'dirty business' may raise serious questions of credibility."
A. The Government Loves Snitches:
One would think that given the well documented credibility problems with informants, the government would avoid using them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The government loves snitches. They pay them handsomely, give them walks off of life sentences, turn a blind eye to their own continued law breaking, and basically hand them the keys to the justice system. Why do they do it? You know why, $$$$$$$.
With the advent of modern forfeiture laws, the government stands to make a fortune when it seizes money during a bust. Likewise, police departments get paid based upon the amount of drugs and money they seize. The government doesn't really care how the bust happened, who knew the drugs were there, or what involvement the informant had in causing the drugs to be there. Just so long as they get paid.
B. We Bust Snitches:
At the Silverman Law Group, we have years of experience getting to the bottom of your snitch problems. Our investigative staff our former narcotics police. If the government is trying to pretend that no snitch was involved, “it was just a traffic stop.” WE FIND THE TRUTH.
If the government admits that a snitch was involved but tries to conceal his identity, WE FIND THE TRUTH.
If the government discloses an informant's identity, but tries to claim, he is credible, WE FIND THE TRUTH.
IN DRUG CASES, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Call today for a consultation and let us start digging to save you.
III. PROOF OF KNOWING POSSESSION
In a drug case, just as in every other type of criminal case, THE ACCUSED IS PRESUMED TO BE INNOCENT. It is not against the law to be discovered close to drugs. It is not against the law to be in the same house with drugs. It is not against the law to be in the same car with drugs. It is against the law to knowingly have care, custody, control, or management over drugs. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE YOU DID NOT KNOW DRUGS WERE PRESENT. THE government MUST PROVE YOU KNEW. Few lawyers and even fewer defendants truly understand this most basic law. Most lawyers can mouth the words, but only a few feel the meaning in their hearts. If your lawyer doesn't really believe in your presumed innocence, he is unlikely to win your case. You can tell who is believer and who is a poser. First, ask them how many felony drug cases they have actually tried to a verdict. Second, ask how many were NOT GUILTYS. Third be alert for discussions of plea bargaining before they have even investigated your case. If they start talking about probation or deferred adjudication before investigation tell them to take a vacation. You need a lawyer that can visualize winning your case from the start. While you certainly need to know what punishment your facing, it is a sign of weakness to be talking about punishment options before the case is thoroughly investigated.
The Bottom Line
If you are charged with a drug case, your choice of lawyer will determine your future. Are you prison bound? Will you be made to live out life as a convicted felon, unable to get a good job, unable to attend college or pursue a trade, unable to even rent an apartment, or are you going home with a clean record? If you have taken the time to read this far, take the next step and call me. It could save your reputation, your family, and your life.