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I found myself being stared down by two police officers in a dark room in Star City in Sydney. Some of you may read this first line and remember your own past experience with this, but this is not aimed at individuals who have already been through the court system; this is for the person who has just been arrest and finds themselves in the same place I was in that dark room.

Scared, confused and feeling like the world was crumbling around me. Being 32 and being caught with three bags packed with what I admitted was cocaine in a dark room was a scary experience. Like most Sydney-siders I indulged in the forbidden fruit like a weekend warrior.

After a thorough search, the police officer pulled out a scale and asked me if I agreed with the weight—I didn’t. But I decided that after being found with foreign notes and $4000 in cash, the best thing to do was to keep my mouth shut.

So after listening to the police office, which in my mind sounded muffled, the confusion and fear started kicking in. Within a flash I had what I found out later was a “yellow slip” and suddenly I was outside. It’s weird, but I couldn’t remember being walked out of the premises.

I was alone with two pieces of paper in my hand, with a surge of anxiety coming over me. My phone was ringing non-stop with calls from my worried friends who would have seen me being escorted from the bathrooms. I quickly took one of the calls and gave the update to them over the phone.

I waved down the first cab I saw and asked them to take me home straight away. It was the longest cab ride home. I did what most people do in all situations in life. I hit Google and after reading about 100 articles all telling me I was going to gaol, I called a friend of mine to explain what happened.

He told me to go home and wind down and that someone will contact me in the morning. After about 30 minutes or so I got a message from Jahan—a criminal lawyer in Sydney—telling me not to worry, that he was aware of my situation, and that we would talk first thing in the morning with me.

After a lengthy discussion with Jahan on the phone on Sunday morning, I booked in to see him first thing on Monday.

Monday morning I had the meeting with Jahan, and suddenly the clouds in my mind were all starting to part. So, facing a drug conviction is scary as hell and your mind goes a million miles an hour and you start to think about everything you did leading up to that moment sitting in the office of a drug conviction lawyer in Sydney. And honestly, the scariest thing is trying to do it on your own and not knowing what you’re facing. You go from moments of thinking everything is going to be fine, to thinking your life is over. One friend tells you about another friend who got caught with more drugs than you and they only got a slap on the wrist. Next thing another friend is telling you that you will never get another job again.

That meeting with Jahan, at his Sydney law firm, was the best thing that I could have done. He carefully articulated what will happen and what the next possible steps were, as well as all the possible things that could happen.

Knowledge is power, and knowing what you’re facing will make things easier to comprehend. I’m not going to go into detail about the legal strategy that Jahan drafted up for me because each situation is different and I don’t want you thinking “Is my lawyer doing the right thing?”—believe me, it’s toxic.

I followed the instructions exactly from my criminal lawyer, Jahan, and compiled the documents, character references, and pieces of evidence. I sat there and started to draft my apology under Jahan’s advise.

Make sure that you watch the video, because it’s important and it’s the same advice that Jahan gave me. There is nothing like a heartfelt apology and it doesn’t just wash over on a Magistrate.

After many months of waiting and conference calls with Jahan, we finally got to the sentencing day. I turned up and I watched Jahan very confidently walk out of the lifts and greet me with a big smile. We sat and quickly chatted, going through the documents—checking and double-checking.

He prepared me for my turn, 45 minutes or so passed and we were still waiting for our turn. After hearing Jahan start to present my case to the Magistrate, I could hear the confidence and preparedness of his words spill out to the court.

After hearing our case the Magistrate turned her attention to the evidence I submitted to the court and she acknowledged the evidence and provided me with some advice that stuck with me till today.

Although I went through those humiliating moments of fessing up to my drug use to my wife and family, the shame of telling my boss that this had happened and that I needed time to take off to see my lawyers and prepare myself for this moment. I had became part of the problem in the cycle and going through that was so awakening.

I had pleaded guilty to the crime of possession of a prohibited substance and I needed a criminal lawyer in Sydney to get me a Section 10 with no recorded conviction. Jahan did that.

So here is some advice from me to whoever is facing a similar situation:

  • No matter what the circumstances, treat the situation as a second chance.

  • Seek legal advice from a drug conviction lawyer.

  • Trust in your legal counsel.

  • Stories of people getting off, or not getting off, are based on the unique circumstances.

  • Get help if you need it—this is the wake-up call you needed, drugs are never the answer.