A potential drug conviction looms over your head. Police arrested you for possession with intent to distribute, took you to the police station and booked you. The challenge you face in fighting this charge is immense.
However, the slightest error, oversight or misstep by the arresting officer works in your favor. Law enforcement must abide by proper procedures in the line of duty. Among the first things to determine is whether the arrest was a proper one.
Probable cause and search warrant
In fighting these charges, it is important to work with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. He or she will help determine whether the arrest was legal.
Among the basic aspects that law enforcement must follow in an arrest include:
- Probable cause: An officer must suspect that criminal evidence exists and have a legitimate reason of its presence in scenarios such as stopping and searching your vehicle.
- Reasonable search and seizure: A valid search warrant is necessary, allowing authorities to search property without your permission. This legal document contains the searchable property such as a home, business and motor vehicle. The search warrant also must list the property that may be seized if found.
- Following the law: If an officer fails to follow every aspect of the law, your case – in the eyes of a judge – is tainted. Dismissal of the charges is possible. Tramping over a person’s rights and fabricating evidence are examples of misguided behavior from law enforcement.
- Reading the Miranda warning: This warning lets you know that you do not have to talk to police and that you have the right to hire an attorney. It may protect you from making self-incriminating statements.
Failing to follow protocols related to an arrest and investigation harms a prosecutor’s case but provides an advantage to the person arrested.
An arrest represents just the beginning. When authorities pursue drug charges against you, they must not make mistakes, and they must follow rules. Fighting such a charge proves challenging, but an officer’s misstep will work to your advantage.