PETER GOODALL, ATTORNEY

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

. . . And Drug Charges


The stigma that accompanies a drug charge is a significant consequence of being arrested: if you've been charged with a drug offense though, it is the least of your worries.


Drug charges are prosecuted in either Federal or State Court.  The Federal Courts handle cases involving large quantities, large scale conspiracy operations, or cases involving drugs and guns.  Peter Goodall has practiced in federal  courts for over ten years.  Three    

main factors differentiate federal cases from state cases, at least they do from the criminal defendant's perspective.  To attorneys there are many differences, here are three that affect a defendant most obviously:  1) In federal courts, you need a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to fight for your pretrial release during one or more magistrate detention hearings.  Bail is not presumed for criminal defendants the same way it is in state courts.  2) In federal courts, sentences are generally far higher than they are in state courts.  It's important to have a criminal defense attorney familiar with both settings, an attorney who can fight to keep your case out of federal court in the first place.  Finally, 3) you need an attorney familiar with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, mandatory minimums, and safety valve provisions.  Peter has been challenging guideline calculations and mandatory minimum sentences since 2002 in numerous federal cases. 


The next thing to examine in any drug case is whether the officers complied with the Constitution.  The Fourth Amendment governs search and seizure.  The Fifth and Sixth Amendments govern police questioning and the right to a lawyer.  Peter spent his first five years out of law school specializing in motion and appellate practice, arguing these issues before trial courts, before the Utah Court of Appeals, the Utah Supreme Court, and the Ninth and Tenth Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal.    


Finally, and most importantly, you need a lawyer who knows how to take these cases to trial and win.  There are issues such as constructive possession, mere presence, and chain of custody.  Peter has successfully argued these theories to juries and procured Not Guilty verdicts for his clients.