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Drug charges: Defense strategy choice needs careful consideration

Any person facing criminal charges in New York will likely explore defense options. When it comes to drug charges for possession, several defense strategies are available for those who do not plead guilty. A defendant might claim that officers violated his or her Fourth Amendment rights during the search and seizure procedure if the seized drugs were not in plain sight but obtained without consent. Denying ownership of the drugs might be a viable defense if there were others present at the time when police found the drugs.

A crime lab must analyze any seized drugs before the prosecution can prove them to be illicit. The lab worker who did the analysis must then testify in the court at the trial. The actual drugs must be produced at trial, and with the various procedures between seizure and prosecution, drugs going missing and never reaching the evidence locker may lead to a case dismissal.

A sting operation may be questioned as strict rules exist to avoid suspects being accused of entrapment. Law enforcement may not pressure or coerce a suspect into doing something that he or she would not otherwise do. Claiming entrapment might be successful if the state provides the drugs used in a sting operation. While insisting that the drugs were planted can be used as a defense, it is rarely a successful strategy.

Deciding on the most appropriate defense strategy is best accomplished by an experienced New York criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can assess the procedures that were followed by law enforcement before drug charges were filed, and any unlawful actions can be addressed in court. The attorney can advocate for the defendant and work to achieve the best possible outcome.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Defenses", Accessed on May 25, 2018

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