Drug charges alone can threaten to ruin your reputation. But a conviction on those same charges can leave you dealing with a whole host of other issues. Your freedom might be in jeopardy, your finances may be at stake, and your ability to obtain employment and housing could be on the line. With so many threats facing you, you owe it to yourself to put forth the strongest defense possible. Even when the evidence against you seems insurmountable, you might have some compelling tactics at your disposal that could lead to less severe penalties or, in the best cases, dismissed charges or an acquittal.
What you need to know about evidence suppression
Although there may be a lot of defense strategies at your fingertips, one of the strongest is evidence suppression. Here, you essentially argue that due to illegality, lack of reliability, or fundamental unfairness, certain evidence shouldn’t be used against you in court. Suppressing key evidence can devastate the prosecution’s case and leave you in control of your future.
So, what circumstances warrant the suppression of evidence? Let’s look at some of them here:
- Illegal search and seizure: The police aren’t above the law. Therefore, when they search you, your vehicle, or your home, they have to do so in accordance with statutes. In most instances, this means that law enforcement needs a warrant before engaging in a search. However, there are many exceptions to the warrant requirement. Consent is certainly amongst them, but so too is the “plain view doctrine” (where evidence is readily apparent and seen with the naked eye) and probable cause that a vehicle contains evidence of criminal activity. If a search is conducted and evidence is gathered without a warrant or in accordance with a valid exception, then that evidence may be suppressible. There is also something known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, where evidence is considered tainted if it is collected subsequent to an illegal activity, such as a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion. This is commonly seen in drug cases.
- Chain of custody errors: When prosecutors offer evidence at trial, they have to demonstrate that the evidence is what it is purported to be. Therefore, if there are issues with evidence collection, maintenance, and transportation practices, then you may be able to successfully argue that the evidence at hand lacks reliability. If the court agrees, then that evidence may be suppressed.
- Failure to appear at a deposition: Before your case heads to trial, it’s a good idea to depose the prosecution’s witnesses. That way you know how they’ll testify and can better develop your legal strategy. However, if the prosecution’s witnesses fail to appear at multiple depositions despite being subpoenaed for them, then you have a valid argument that it would be unfair for the court to allow the prosecution to still use the witness’s testimony.
Build the holistic criminal defense that you need to protect your interests
If you’re like most people who have been charged with a drug crime, then you’re stressed and afraid. As daunting as the situation may seem, though, you might be able to use certain legal tactics to your advantage to secure a more favorable outcome. To successfully do so, you’ll need to know the law and how to apply it to your set of facts. You’ll also need to know how to argue in a compelling fashion and create a legal strategy that addresses every aspect of the prosecution’s case. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this process on your own. Instead, you can turn to experienced legal professionals, like those at our firm, for assistance in building the criminal defense that you need.