Receiving drug charges can change a person’s life for the worse in an instant. While many states continue to reconsider drug criminalization, drug charges still draw down some of the harshest sentencing for any non-violent crime. If you recently received drug charges and have not yet begun building your defense, now is the time to begin.
Even if you believe that the evidence against you is relatively strong, you need a sturdy defense to protect your rights. If you don’t build your defense using all of the available legal tools, you may receive a completely unjust sentence, because of the harshness of drug crime laws, both at the state and federal level. A sturdy defense helps ensure that your rights remain secure while you fight for your future.
Examine the circumstances of your arrest
Simply receiving drug charges does not mean that the evidence against you is enough for a conviction. The sooner that you begin building your defense, the longer you have to scrutinize the evidence against you for weaknesses.
If police arrested a suspect for drug possession in their Tampa home, for instance, it is possible that drugs seized from the home were left by someone else and do belong to the suspect. Similarly, if an officer violates a suspect’s rights during their arrest interaction, a court may not uphold the charges. These are only some of the ways you can find weaknesses that may help protect you from severe punishment.
Examine the physical evidence
Drug possession charges typically imply a defendant physically possessing illegal drugs. Upon arrest, the illegal substance should go to evidence storage. In many instances, it is possible to request professional laboratory testing to verify the chemical composition of the substance.
Requesting laboratory testing may create at least two defense opportunities. First, the prosecution must be able to physically produce the evidence from storage for the laboratory to test it. If the evidence underwent a clerical error, prosecution may not be able to produce it for testing, which weakens the case against the defendant.
Secondly, laboratory testing may not return conclusive results, or may return results that do not match the charges. For instance, police may arrest a person on suspicion of drug possession after misidentifying a powder or other hard-to-identify substance. If lab results determine that the charges did not accurately identify the substance, this also weakens the case against the defendant.
Do not wait to defend yourself
Waiting to build your defense is rarely a wise choice. You only have a short amount of time to build your defense and request to review evidence. If you wait too long to begin, you may miss important defensive opportunities.
With a strong legal defense, you can use the strength of the law to ensure that your rights remain protected while you work to resolve your charges and return to your normal life. Make sure to make the protection of your rights and future opportunities a top priority.