Building a Defense For Drug Charges in Prince William County
There is a wide variety of constitutional issues that may arise in a drug case in Prince William County that may help to build a defense. The most common constitutional issues that can arise are related to how the individual encountered law enforcement. This is typically covered by the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as adopted by the Virginia Constitution, says a person has the right to be free of unlawful searches and seizures. This right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures extends to a certain point. If someone is concerned about building defenses for their drug charges and the constitutional issues that arise in Prince William County, a skilled drug attorney will be able to help.
Officers will use investigative tactics that may violate someone’s Fourth Amendment rights and is a very common defense for Prince William County drug charges. Officers attempt to use all techniques available to them in determining whether or not they can make a search, but often they cross the line. When they cross the line, it is the responsibility of individuals and their Prince William County attorneys to keep prosecutors in check and of their constitutional rights.
Another common way that individuals may find themselves facing issues in a drug case is if the accuser, the necessary witnesses or analysts who tested the drug, do not appear in court, which can help an attorney’s case.
A person also has the right to confront their accuser. There is a confrontation clause. The confrontation clause means that a person has the right to cross-examine individuals giving crucial evidence regarding a person’s case. If the evidence is viewed as being non-testimonial, an individual has the right to cross-examine them and they must appear in the case. There is a wide variety of Virginia case law about whether certain types of certificates of analyses are admissible without the actual person who created them. A wide variety of constitutional issues may arise in the context of a drug case that can help strengthen someone’s defense for their charge in Prince William County.
Unique Aspects of Drug Cases
Drug cases allow prosecutors to employ a wide variety of discretion about what to do moving forward. This is especially true because drug offenses and the drug section that empowers them, give a lot of statutory options. It is not the same for all other types of law. For example, a DUI has little statutory options as to what to do if someone is accused of an offense. A drug offense, specifically drug possession, gives essentially more options, depending on the person’s age, prior conviction, and what they have done to show their sincerity in seeking to reform their ways, leading to more potential defenses in Prince William County.
In addition, common local prosecutorial discretion and local prosecutorial practices give even more options to the individuals. A person facing gun charges will need an attorney who practices in drug crimes on a regular basis and understands how to defend them and what must be proven before a person may be found guilty, as well as what common outcomes are used to help a person avoid certain penalties associated with drug crimes.
Dropping the Charge
It is typically not possible to have a charge dropped right away. The reason is because the case must go to the correct judicial procedure. Someone arrested is typically given an arraignment or an advisement date. It is very uncommon that charges would be dropped or action taken as to the future of the charge at the arraignment or advisement date. However, once the individual has a court date, it is possible the charges could get dropped, depending on the type of charges and circumstances of a person’s case.
Every case is evaluated on a case by case basis. If, however, there are some reasons why the case should be dropped out of extraordinary circumstances, such as mistaken identity, identity fraud, and identity theft, potentially this can happen before the court date. But, it is very uncommon if someone’s charges would be dropped before a court date. The primary reason is just to allow due process to occur for the charge at hand.
There are a wide variety of mistakes that can be made by law enforcement officers when investigating and determining whether or not they have probable cause for a drug charge in Prince William County.
These include, but are not limited to, mistaken identity, lack of probable cause, lack of reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle in the first place, the incorrect handling of the drug in the field, incorrect identification of the drug, and incorrect preservation of the chain of custody of the evidence. Many mistakes can happen by law enforcement which assist the lawyer in building a strong defense for a Prince William County drug charge.
Building a Defense
When building a defense, an attorney wants to look into every possible mistake and make sure any possible defense can be used. Many times a mistake may not be one that is completely fatal to the case; it may give the person a multitude of options in trying to resolve the case.
Mistakes by law enforcement can heavily assist the lawyer in building a strong defense for a Prince William County drug charge.
Contacting an Attorney
A person should contact an attorney right away, especially in a drug charge where there may be evidence that needs to be preserved, including witness statements, videos, and things of that nature. As soon as a person believes they may be charged or when they are charged with a drug offense, they should contact an experienced Prince William County attorney right away to begin building a defense.