Minority populations in our community face drug charges more often than those in the white community. This is certainly unfair on its face, but it’s also problematic because law enforcement oftentimes violates the rights of those who are accused of drug crimes, and those violations go unchecked unless those accused individuals know how to navigate the legal system. This can put our minority populations at an even greater risk of being taken advantage of by the legal system.
The truth of the matter, though, is that you may have strong criminal defense options at your fingertips. You simply have to learn about them and how to utilize them to your advantage. When it comes to drug charges, one especially powerful tactic that you may be able to use is evidence suppression.
How does evidence suppression work?
In its most basic terms, evidence suppression occurs when allowing the prosecution to use certain evidence against you would violate your rights or the law. Here are some circumstances that may warrant a motion to suppress evidence in your case:
- Illegal search and seizure: Your Constitutional rights protect you against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is why law enforcement is typically required to obtain a warrant before they can search you, your vehicle, or your home. Although officers often try to utilize one of the many exceptions to the warrant requirement, they tend to do so illegally. If this occurs to you, then you may be able to argue that the evidence that was subsequently seized was illegally obtained and therefore shouldn’t be used against you. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and is often seen in the context of illegal traffic stops that then result in the seizure of narcotics within the vehicle that was pulled over.
- Confession in violation of Miranda: You also have a Constitutional right against self-incrimination, which means that you don’t have to talk to the police. If you’re subjected to custodial interrogation, though, meaning that the police are questioning you and you’re not free to leave, then law enforcement should inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If you’re not made aware of those rights during custodial interrogation and then you make a confession, you may be able to have that confession suppressed since it was obtained in violation of the law.
- Chain of custody errors: The police are supposed to gather and maintain evidence in a certain way to ensure that integrity is maintained. If they fail to do that, then you may be able to argue that the evidence being presented against you isn’t reliable and therefore shouldn’t be admissible.
- Failure to appear at depositions: One way to learn about the prosecution’s case against you is to conduct depositions, which is where you take sworn testimony from witnesses prior to trial. But if you subpoena a witness for a deposition and he or she fails to appear without justification, then you can argue that allowing that witness to testify for the prosecution is unfair since you weren’t given the opportunity to depose that witness.
Know how to use every defense tactic available to you
Suppressing evidence, while incredibly powerful, is just one of the many criminal defense options that may be available to you. That’s why as you approach your drug case, you need to know how to navigate the law to your advantage. Only then can you ensure that you’ve maximized your chances of protecting your rights and beating the prosecution. If you want a strong advocate in your corner during this process, then now may be the time to reach out to an attorney who you think will provide you with the aggressive representation that you deserve.