Can Drug Trafficking Charges Be Dismissed If The Evidence Was Obtained Illegally?
In every criminal case, all evidence must be obtained legally and handled appropriately to be admissible in the courtroom. If evidence has been seized illegally, this can be disastrous for the state’s case against you. Often, an attorney can have the illegally obtained evidence excluded from your case. Excluded evidence decreases the likelihood of a conviction and can even result in a case dismissal.
Drug trafficking charges are severe and prosecuted aggressively in Oklahoma. You will need a fierce attorney who can fight for your rights and leverage every mistake made by the prosecution and law enforcement to benefit your case.
At Cannon & Associates, we know how high the stakes are in drug trafficking cases, and we strongly believe that the standards, rules, and regulations of the criminal justice system must be upheld in every case. If there has been any wrongdoing, rights violations, or illegally obtained evidence in your case, we will ensure that this doesn’t go unnoticed by the court. We will scrutinize every aspect of the case against you and capitalize on any errors to secure the best possible outcome for you in your drug trafficking case.
The fierce criminal defense attorneys at Cannon & Associates will develop the best possible defense for your case and explore every avenue that could be used to help you beat drug trafficking charges.
Time is of the essence to identify and address any misconduct in your case. Contact Cannon & Associates as soon as possible for a free consultation at 405-591-3935.
Drug Trafficking Charges In Oklahoma
Drug trafficking is a more serious drug crime than offenses such as drug possession. To be charged with drug trafficking, an individual must be caught in possession of a minimum amount of a controlled substance.
These minimum quantities, established in Oklahoma’s controlled substance laws, vary by drug and are thought to indicate the owner’s intent to traffick drugs. If charged with drug trafficking in Oklahoma, you could be facing prosecution under state or federal law.
Drug Trafficking Criminal Penalties
The State of Oklahoma takes drug charges very seriously, and all offenses, even a drug possession charge, carry some of the harshest penalties in the country. As such, it goes without saying that there is a lot at stake if you are facing a drug trafficking charge and the potential repercussions that come with it.
In addition to lengthy prison sentences and huge fines, your assets could be seized, and you may be required to complete a drug treatment course.
A first drug trafficking conviction in Oklahoma carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years in the Department of Corrections. This sentence increases for a second offense to a minimum of four years up to possibly life in prison. Individuals convicted of drug trafficking must serve a minimum of 50% of their total prison sentence.
The fines you face for a drug traffic conviction can vary depending on the substance and the quantity you were arrested with. In general, a fine can range from $25,000 to $500,000. These extreme amounts of money have the potential to severely impact your life and financial future.
Permanent Criminal Record
If you are convicted of drug trafficking, this will remain on your criminal record permanently. Such a serious charge on your record is likely to impact almost every aspect of your life, from finding work and renting a home to the custody of your children and borrowing money.
If your drug trafficking charges are dropped, you may be able to expunge this from your criminal record and live your life without the burden of such a serious offense on your record.
What Makes Evidence Admissible In Court?
For evidence to be admissible in a criminal court case, it must be obtained and managed in line with the Oklahoma Evidence Code. These are comprehensive regulations that everyone involved in the criminal justice system must follow concerning evidence in a criminal case. Some of the many requirements in the evidence code stipulate that all evidence must be obtained legally and handled correctly throughout the case. Evidence must be handled appropriately to ensure that it is reliable and has not been tampered with.
If law enforcement and the prosecution can’t prove the chain of custody of the evidence, the item of evidence can be challenged and potentially declared inadmissible in your case. The correct chain of custody of every piece of evidence, whether personal property or DNA, is essential to ensure that the evidence hasn’t been contaminated or tampered with.
How Can Evidence Be Obtained Illegally?
The evidence in your case may have been obtained illegally if law enforcement officers conducted a search without a warrant. Some of the only incidences in which a search can be conducted without a warrant include the following:
- If you have been arrested, an officer can search your person for dangerous items
- If the evidence is in plain sight of the officer and they are lawfully on the premises
- If you consent to a search
- During a traffic stop, when an officer can search for evidence of the crime you have just been arrested for
Similarly, if the evidence was found during an improper traffic stop, it may have been obtained illegally. For example, law enforcement officers cannot just stop a vehicle and conduct a search without probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.
Additionally, evidence from an interview may have been illegally obtained if you were denied legal representation during the interview, deprived of food or water, or coerced into providing evidence through threatening or aggressive behavior.
Can Drug Trafficking Charges Be Dismissed If The Evidence Was Obtained Illegally?
A case dismissal will depend upon the specific nature of the illegal evidence and how it was obtained. If your fourth amendment rights have been violated, this could be grounds for an attorney to petition the court to dismiss your case.
If your case is not dismissed on a rights violation, your attorney may be able to have the illegally obtained evidence excluded from your case. If this was a pivotal piece of evidence that the prosecution’s case relies on, or if a substantial amount of their evidence is excluded, this could seriously weaken the argument against you.
Your case could be dismissed if the prosecution does not have enough legally obtained evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty and secure a conviction at trial.
What Is A Motion To Exclude?
A motion to exclude, sometimes known as a motion to suppress, is a way in which your attorney can request that the court throw out evidence from your case if it was obtained by illegal means. If evidence is excluded by the court, the prosecution can’t refer to this evidence in any way in their case against you, and it can’t be used to prove your guilt at trial.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help My Drug Trafficking Case?
The prosecution must prove that you are guilty of drug trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. With a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side, it may be possible to have illegally obtained evidence excluded to weaken the prosecution’s case against you or even have your charges dropped.
A reputable attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by getting the case dismissed or negotiating a lesser charge and less harsh penalties.
A skilled attorney may be able to get your drug trafficking charges dismissed if one of several errors or examples of misconduct occurred during your case. For example, if your fourth amendment rights were violated at any point during your criminal case, this could be grounds for dismissal.
For example, if your home was searched without a legal search warrant, this is likely to be a rights violation. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. In most situations, you can’t be searched without a search warrant. This requires law enforcement to demonstrate probable cause that you have committed a crime to secure a warrant.
Similarly, if the prosecution included illegally obtained evidence in their case against you, this can benefit your defense. Your attorney could petition the court to exclude any evidence which was obtained illegally. If a substantial portion of the prosecution’s case against you relied upon this now-excluded evidence, they might not have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction without it. In this situation, your case could be dropped.
If evidence has been excluded because it was secured illegally, this could leave the prosecution with insufficient evidence to achieve a conviction for the initial offense that you were charged with.
For example, the state may not be able to secure a trafficking conviction if the main evidence that proved the quantity of substance you were allegedly in possession of is excluded. An experienced attorney will identify these weaknesses in the case against you. If your case can’t be dismissed, these errors can be capitalized on and leveraged to secure a lesser charge. In some cases, this could result in a simple possession charge with lesser penalties, as opposed to a drug trafficking charge.
More Lenient Sentencing
A reputable attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution for a more lenient sentence in your case. This could include probation, as opposed to incarceration, or a deferred or suspended sentence.
Cannon & Associates Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help Beat Your Drug Trafficking Charges
All drug crimes in Oklahoma are serious offenses and can carry life-changing penalties, and drug trafficking is one of the most severe drug charges you could face.
Although the charges against you may seem daunting, if you believe that the evidence in your case was obtained illegally, this could substantially impact the final outcome of your case. Fortunately, the state of Oklahoma has strict regulations relating to the collection and handling of evidence. If these regulations are not followed, this can lead to crucial pieces of evidence being thrown out by a Judge.
If you are represented by Cannon & Associates, your criminal defense lawyer will meticulously examine the prosecution’s case and every piece of evidence against you. If there is any sign of illegally obtained evidence, your skilled attorney will thoroughly investigate this and utilize it to your advantage in your case.
Every minute is precious in such a high-stakes case as a drug trafficking charge involving illegally obtained evidence. Your legal representation could be the difference between 20 years behind bars and beating your charge entirely. Book a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer today by calling Cannon & Associates at 405-591-3935.
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