So I was recently retained by a young (18) defendant who I came to learn LATER was charged with possession of heoin. Or so I thought.
The client told me that she was only accompanying her 33 year old boyfriend "to the mall", when suddenly she found herself in downtown Newark in Essex County. Lo and behold! The boyfriend ended up buying a very large quantity of heroin whilst being observed by some detectives. My client was arrested and charged "with possession". Right. She made it sound as if she were only along for the ride, the poor thing.
Not quite. Upon receipt of the discovery, I found out that she had actually been charged with these VERY serious things 3rd degree possession of heroin, 1st degree possession with intent to distribute, possession withing 1000' of a school zone and posession withing 500' of public park. All of the 2.5 ounces of heroin were found on her side of the car; a straw was found in her bra and more heroin was ulitmately found.... inside of HER. This is a very serous case, with mandatory prison in play.
The first problem this creates is that I had no choice but to literally double my fee. Even that was far less than I would ordinarily charge for a case of this magnitude. First and Second Degree cases require a tremendous amount of work for a lawyer. We have to figure out how to save the client from prison. Motions may have to be filed, trial threatened.
The second problem is one of trust between the lawyer and the client. Granted it's embarassing for a young woman to have to tell me that she hid drugs in her vagina, but still, it must be disclosed. That was the least serious disinformation provided. The quantiity of the drugs, their location, etc. are more problematic. Now I don't know what to believe when my client tells me something. And I don't like surprises.
A client MUST tell their lawyer EVERYTHING about their case in order allow the lawyer do their job!! We don't like surprises!!