Drug offenses can be very serious charges, and they carry stiff punishment under both Texas and federal law. However, there are also a number of defenses available for drug charges, and the success of the government’s case in large part depends on how the evidence was obtained.
Here are a few of the defenses available:
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that a warrant shall not issue unless the police have probable cause. This basically means that the officer needs to have a valid reason to conduct the search and the warrant needs to specifically describe the place to be searched, the person involved and item to be seized. If it doesn’t, the search may be illegal. If a court rules that the search is illegal, any evidence that the police obtained through the search will be suppressed (not be allowed in court to prove the defendant’s guilt).
Invalid search warrant
Even if the police obtained a search warrant, that doesn’t mean that it is valid. In order to obtain a warrant, an officer needs to present a sworn affidavit to a judge and request a finding that there is probable cause to search this particular location for specific evidence. If the affidavit contains incorrect information, information from unknown individuals or informants, or if the descriptions of the search location or items are unclear, the search warrant can be challenged.
Errors in laboratory testing
The government has a very specific burden to present testimony from everyone who touched, processed or tested the drug evidence. If one link in this chain of custody is missing, the evidence will not be admissible in court. Further, the testing procedures at many labs can be challenged. If the court agrees that there is doubt as to whether the government properly handled the drugs, the charges can be dismissed.
This occurs when a government agent uses threats, fraud or some other type of undue influence to induce a defendant to commit a crime.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, consultation with an experienced San Antonio drug offense attorney will be invaluable to determine if any of these defenses are available to you to get the charges dismissed.