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Law Enforcement Mistakes in West Palm Beach Drug Cases
Police are tasked with enforcing criminal laws and protecting public safety, and they undergo significant training to ensure they have the skills to do so. However, officers are human and capable of making law enforcement mistakes in West Palm Beach drug cases. Even though Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics show that Palm Beach County authorities arrest around 7,500 people every year for drug crimes, the number of convictions is far less because of these errors.
Unfortunately, drug crime mistakes by law enforcement can still have serious implications if you don’t know how to bring them to the attention of the court. You should trust a West Palm Beach drug crimes defense attorney to handle the legal details to ensure critical errors don’t affect the outcome in your case.
Common Errors by Law Enforcement: The most common mistakes by police in drug crimes cases involve violations of your civil rights under the US and Florida Constitutions. In some situations, they are honest mistakes or errors in judgment, such as:
- Illegal Traffic Stops: Police must have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity before they can pull you over;
- Unconstitutional Search: Officer can only search you and your home if they have probable cause regarding a crime or a warrant issued by a judge;
- Unlawful Arrests: Probable cause is also a factor when police make an arrest, since they cannot take you into custody on a mere hunch; and,
- Improper Questioning: Once you’re under arrest and officers read your Miranda warnings, you have the right to remain silent. You cannot be forced to testify against yourself, which is what you’d do by answering their questions.
How Procedural Mistakes Offer Defense Options: The mere presence of errors by law enforcement is not sufficient to dismiss the charges. Instead, address civil rights violations via a motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence and have it tossed out of court. There are multiple advantages for your case:
- You may be able to have the drug crimes charges dismissed, since the prosecutor doesn’t have much of a case after the evidence was thrown out.
- You could be acquitted at trial if the prosecutor decides to pursue the charges, despite the lack of evidence.
- It’s possible to have the drug crimes charges reduced or work out a less harsh punishment through plea bargaining. Prosecutors are often willing to negotiate when their case is weakened by a lack of evidence.
Contact a West Palm Beach Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer Today
If you’re facing Florida drug charges and believe law enforcement made key mistakes in handling your arrest, you should reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Your chances of a favorable outcome increase when you have a lawyer to represent you early on in the process, especially during interactions and questioning by police. To learn how our team can assist with the essential motions and other legal tasks, please contact Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. You can schedule a free initial consultation at our West Palm Beach office by calling 561-721-0552 or visiting us online.