The state of New York is known for having some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. These laws are also complex and provide various different classes of felonies. When it comes to trafficking an illegal substance, there are five different categories of felonies. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove possession as well as knowledge of a controlled substance with intent to sell, including drug paraphernalia i.e. glass bongs, glass pipes. Should someone in New York make an offer or agreement for the purchase of an illegal substance, it may be considered enough evidence to prove intent and ability to traffic drugs. In some situations, it is possible to have such charges dismissed.
Illegal Search and Seizure
In order for a person to be convicted of a drug trafficking charge, their rights to due process, including lawful search and seizure, must be respected. This should happen even before an arrest takes place. A person in possession of an illegal drug in plain view can have it seized as evidence. If illegal drugs are discovered in a car’s trunk after it’s forced open without a proper legal authority, they cannot be used as evidence. It does not matter the amount of illegal drugs located there. If it can be proven a person’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, there is a good chance the charges could be dismissed.
It is essential for a prosecutor to produce the actual drugs a defendant is charged with trafficking. It is possible for seized drugs to be transferred between many different people before they are placed in an evidence locker, including being hidden in items, such as waist trainers. It’s possible the drugs will no longer exist for many reasons. When a prosecutor is unable to produce the actual drugs obtained during an arrest; a judge will have to dismiss the case.
A judgment against a person convicted of drug trafficking can be vacated if the court did not have jurisdiction for the action. It can also happen if the judgment was obtained through misrepresentation or fraud from a prosecutor. This can be the case if evidence provided during the trial prior was false and it was known by the prosecutor. It’s also possible for the judgment against a defendant to be vacated when it is proven they were suffering from mental disease or defect. This will happen if it is determined the defendant could not understand or participate in the legal proceedings.
Lack of Ownership
It is common for people charged with drug trafficking to claim they didn’t own the drugs and were unaware they were in their living space. A prosecutor may be asked to provide solid evidence a person charged with the crime did have possession and control of the illegal drugs. If a connection can’t be proven between the illegal drugs and a person who allegedly had knowledge as well as control of them; the case could be dismissed.
Law enforcement officials often set up sting operations that involve arresting individuals trafficking illegal drugs. A person may be the victim of entrapment if a member of law enforcement convinces them to commit a crime that in any other circumstance they would not have committed. Should an undercover law enforcement officer place significant pressure on a suspect to sell an illegal drug to a third party: it could be considered entrapment. It is also the case if the state provides the illegal drugs for the commission of the crime. Entrapment is sufficient grounds to dismiss drug trafficking charges.
Drugs Are Planted
This is always a challenge to prove in a court of law. A law enforcement officer’s sworn testimony is highly valued. It’s also important to know that fellow officers are very reluctant to identify one of their own as having done something illegal. A person’s lawyer can file a motion with a judge requesting a law enforcement department release their complaint file of the lead officer for the case. If a judge grants this motion, an attorney will be able to find the names and contacts for information concerning their client’s case. An attorney is then able to interview these people or hire a private investigator to interview them.
Should a person be charged with drug trafficking, it important they listen to their attorney. These legal professionals will know what defense will work best in a person’s individual situation. Some legal defenses will challenge the facts of the case, evidence or even testimony. Others will involve improper procedural errors as well as seizure violations and more.