Drug charges, especially those involving drug trafficking, are serious and threaten accused individuals with years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines, if not more. A prosecutor’s case in these instances, as with most criminal cases, will rely on the available evidence. So, when damaging evidence is presented against you, you certainly want to try to get it suppressed. Here are some ways that can be done.
In short, evidence must be both relevant and competent in order to be admissible in court. This means that the evidence must be related to the offense for which the accused is charged and that evidence must have been handled in a way that was legal. Therefore, evidence obtained subject to an unlawful search and seizure will likely be ruled inadmissible because it was not gathered in accordance with the law. The same holds true for statements or confessions made by an accused individual, in certain instances, if he or she has not been advised of his or her Miranda Rights.
Errors in the chain of custody might also render evidence inadmissible. For example, if a white powder is seized but is lost on its way to the lab, then is found, tested, and determined to be cocaine, a defendant can make a strong argument that the evidence is not credible. This is because no one can prove that the cocaine is the same substance originally seized or that it has not been tampered with.
There are many exceptions to the exclusionary rule that may be discussed at another time. Until then, it is important not to rely on the above as legal advice, but rather as general information. If you are facing a federal drug offense, then speaking with a California attorney may be a great first step to discovering your defense options.
Source: FindLaw, “How to Suppress Evidence,” accessed on Sept. 5, 2014