Drug charges in Arizona come with harsh mandatory sentencing minimums, even for the most minor charges, such as drug possession. If you have been arrested for any drug crime in Southern Arizona, a strong defense will be an asset as your court date approaches. By choosing a qualified, experienced attorney like Steven D. West, you can feel confident that your case will be thoroughly investigated and the best possible defense will be prepared. Many times Mr. West’s clients see their charges reduced substantially or their case dismissed altogether. Let’s take a closer look at some possible defenses against drug crimes.
Law enforcement officials are required to follow certain procedures to acquire and handle evidence, and these procedures include procuring a warrant to search an individual’s property. If your home or vehicle has been searched without explicit consent or a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, the evidence acquired during the search may be invalid in a court of law.
Poor Evidence Handling
Even if evidence is properly gathered, it is possible that evidence can be lost, tampered with, or that the chain of custody was broken. A good defense lawyer will insist that the seized drugs are produced during the trial and tested to ensure that it is the substance police claim it is. Crime lab analysis should take place for all seized drugs, as mistaken identity of substances can actually lead to drug charges.
It is important to recognize that police sting operations are legal, but these operations can be considered entrapment when a suspect is coaxed into committing a crime he or she may not have otherwise committed. If, for example, an undercover police officer coaxes an individual into agreeing to purchase drugs, this may be considered entrapment.
Medical Marijuana Use
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Arizona, but federal laws still prohibit marijuana use and possession in all forms. This can create discrepancies between federal agencies and state law enforcement that might need to be sorted out in court. Getting arrested by Border Patrol for marijuana possession, for example, may not end in drug charges if you carry a medical marijuana card valid in the area where you were arrested and the quantity of marijuana is consistent with personal use. Best not to carry it with you, you may still incur an embarrassing search of your car if a dog alerts.
If you are charged with any drug crime in Tucson or Southern Arizona, Steven D. West can provide a comprehensive, personalized defense for your case. To learn more about our services, call us at (520) 623-4387 or continue browsing our website.