Drug charges can threaten nearly every aspect of your life. Upon conviction, you might be hit with financially ruinous fines, devastation to your reputation, a job-killing criminal record, and long-term incarceration. We don’t say that to scare you but to instead motivate you to build the strongest criminal defense that you can to protect yourself as fully as possible. Regardless of how strong the evidence against you may seem, you might have powerful criminal defense options at your fingertips. Let’s look at some of them.
Evidence suppression very well might be your strongest tactic. Here, you try to demonstrate that for one reason or another, the evidence being used against you was either illegally obtained or can’t be trusted to be what the prosecution purports it to be. For example, if a traffic stop is made with no legal justification, then any subsequently gathered evidence is deemed tainted and therefore inadmissible at trial. This may be the case even if you consented to the search of your vehicle that led to the recovery of narcotics.
In other instances, law enforcement fails to obtain a proper warrant before searching your home, vehicle, or person. While there are certain exceptions to the warrant requirement, they are pretty narrowly tailored. Most warrantless searches occur incident to arrest, during a car’s impounding, once consent is given, or when evidence is in plain view. You should know the ins and outs of these exceptions if they were applicable in your case so that you can better argue why such warrantless searches were illegal. If you succeed in doing so, then the evidence gathered from those searches may be deemed inadmissible.
Chain of custody can also be a problem for the prosecution. Generally speaking, the prosecution needs to show that evidence passed from place to place without being tampered with or compromised. You might be able to highlight gaps in the chain of custody that are large enough to draw the evidence’s reliability into question.
A lot of high-stakes drug cases aren’t just built on physical evidence. They’re also built upon strong witness testimony. But simply because a witness takes an oath to tell the truth doesn’t mean that they’re going to be honest. In fact, witness credibility is a major issue that you might be able to exploit to your advantage.
There are several ways to do this. You might be able to point out statements that are inconsistent between depositional testimony and trial testimony, or you might be able to show that a witness was motivated to testify against you, such as when an alleged accomplice receives immunity or a plea deal in exchange for testimony. A witness’s bias and even pertinent criminal history can all work to help destroy a witness’s credibility. If you can do that, then the judge and jury may give that witness’s testimony little, if any, weight.
The elements of the crime charged
In a lot of cases, you can simply look at the applicable statutes and try to demonstrate that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden. Many drug cases require the prosecution to prove the defendant’s intent, which can be extraordinarily complicated. That’s why looking at the law on its face can point out glaring holes in the prosecution’s case.
Be confident in building your criminal defense
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, then you’ve got a lot on the line. With that in mind, you owe it to yourself to have the best criminal defense possible. This means seeking out the help that you need to build your case. Not all criminal defense law firms are created equal, though, which is why you may want to do your homework before you settle on the proven firm that is right for you.