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Attacking The Evidence In Your Florida Drug Case
When a person is charged with a drug offense in Florida, it can have serious, long-term consequences, particularly if they are convicted. However, everyone is entitled to their day in court, and to raise appropriate defenses if they apply. One of the best ways to create reasonable doubt in your case is to question the admissibility of the evidence against you. A knowledgeable attorney can help to do this.
Obtained Illegally Or Unethically
In order to convict you of a drug-related criminal offense like possession or trafficking, a state’s attorney must be able to make their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and they will, of course, require evidence to do so. Examples might include a statement from a person who witnessed a drug transaction or the possession of such a large quantity of drugs that an intent to sell or traffick can be inferred. However, evidence must be obtained legally and appropriately.
For example, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of a person to be free from “unreasonable searches” and seizures of goods, and mandates probable cause be present before a warrant can be issued. If law enforcement performs a search without probable cause to do so, the evidence gathered in the search is inadmissible – in other words, it cannot be presented in court by a state’s attorney or used against the defendant – because it was obtained illegally.
Law Enforcement Errors
There are other ways in which evidence in your case might be found inadmissible. A common example is a failure to read a defendant their Miranda rights. A case from 1966 called Miranda v Arizona created the Miranda warning we see on TV nowadays, beginning with “You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Too often, these rights are taken for granted, but they are very important and relevant – if law enforcement arrests someone and fails to explicitly advise someone of their Miranda rights, it can be grounds for a confession or other information being rendered inadmissible.
Chain of custody issues can also lead to the exclusion of evidence, particularly of the drugs involved in your alleged commission of the crime. Law enforcement must carefully document the path that any item takes from the crime scene to the evidence locker, and if at any point the chain is broken, it may create reasonable doubt about the nature or quantity of the substance at issue.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Florida, and you suspect that the evidence obtained against you was not obtained in the proper manner, you and your attorney may be able to get it removed from the record, though this is less common than one might hope. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help to answer your questions about the process and protect your rights throughout. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.