Unlawful Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your due process rights. This means that you and your property have the right not to be unlawfully searched and seized, or taken. Often times, it is not only what was found, but also the manner in which these things were found, that matter. For example, things such as illicit drugs found in ‘plain view’ or out in the open can automatically be seized and may give the officers probable cause to further search your property, and ultimately arrest you. However, if illicit drugs are found, but in the process of looking for these drugs, your fourth rights were violated, (and you did not consent to this search) these drugs may not be entered into evidence.
Drugs Belong to Someone Else
A common defense to any crime charge is to simply say you did not commit the act. For example if there are several people in a house, and drugs are found in a common area, it is harder to prove who the drugs belong to. It is the job of the prosecution to figure out who the drugs belong to, and to not wrongfully accuse incorrect parties.
Oftentimes, the officers can testify to seeing a drug transaction but is unable to produce the actual drugs before the court. Seized drugs get transferred several times before ending up in evidence, therefore these drugs sometimes get lost in the process. When the actual drugs are missing, or the crime analysis for the drugs show they are not actual drugs, prosecutors risk having their case dismissed.
This may be extremely difficult to prove. A police officer’s sworn testimony carries a lot of weight in the courtroom. However, your attorney can file a motion, with the permission of the judge, which allows the police department to release the complaint file of the office. This file contains any complaints filed, and the information of the people who filed the complaint. If the officer has a history of complaints or of accusations similar to this, their credibility may be attacked before the court.
Law enforcement officials are allowed to set up sting operations, however entrapment occurs when officers or informants induce or provoke a suspect to commit a crime that he or she, otherwise may not have committed. Entrapment is not permitted. For example, if an informant or officer convinces or pressures a suspect into passing drugs to a third party, this may be considered entrapment. Most commonly, entrapment occurs when it is the state that is providing the drugs.
Free Consultation by a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested on a drug possession charge, you may have defenses available to you that aren’t immediately obvious. The police officers may have improperly taken your statement, or mishandled the evidence, etc. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney for a free evaluation of your case, to figure out if there are any other defenses you can have in a criminal case.