What Potential Defense Strategies Are Used In Drug Related Cases?
Some of the first defenses that we use in drug related cases are what led the police to be there in the first place? How did they get called out to your home? Why did you get pulled over? They must have justification to be there to do their investigation. That would be reasonable suspicion. They must have reasonable suspicion to start asking you questions about drug use, and possession. In other cases, another defense we use is search and seizure. The first thing that I talked about is seizure, but when they conduct a search, they must have probable cause, or a warrant to search. If they cannot articulate, why they made their search and the reasons for the search, then anything that is found can be suppressed.
Those drugs cannot be used to convict them. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. Therefore, that is a defense. I have gone a bit further in my practice, and I am what they call a lawyer scientist. I have attended further training as the lab technicians go to. I have been able to analyze drugs, and I have used the same methods, and procedures that our analysts at the state and federal labs would use. Therefore, when I get those lab reports back, I am checking their methods, and practices they use and see if they are a qualified technician.
That is another big part of my practice defending my clients. Did they use the proper procedures to reach this conclusion? I pull all the information from the labs, and the machines used in the analysis of the drugs. That is a big part of my defense strategy. It is the lab work, and science that was used to determine what drug it was, because there are cases where it might have just been a small speck of something, and the computer calls it cocaine, when in fact it is not. The computer is out of balance, and people have avoided going to prison for a long time for that. Some of the big picture defenses are constitutional law, search and seizure, and the actual analysis of a controlled substance.
How Often Are You Able To Have Drug Charges Reduced Or Dropped?
I feel comfortable in saying that in most of my cases, I can get charges reduced or dropped. I would say, in about eighty to ninety percent of my cases I can get things reduced down if not flat out dismissed. More reduced down than dismissed, if we looked at it overall, and that is where my focus is. What my clients need. Do they need help with a disease or an addiction? Let us find them a job so a judge can see that they are productive members of society, and they have changed their ways. They are working fulltime during the pendency of this case. In most of my cases, I have good outcomes, and I think I keep many people from going to prison, and definitely shorten the amount of time that they spend in jail.
What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Drug Cases In Utah?
It is two parts. It is the way I defend them, not only am I looking at the constitutional issues for violation of their constitutional rights, but also the lawyer scientist part. I am the only attorney in Utah that has been designated as a lawyer scientist. I have educated myself on scientific methods used in these labs and procedures. I think that is what gives me the edge, and the extra information to make a difference in a difficult case. It is knowing that science, and the methods used. If you can find one problem, or a mistake made at the lab, then that case can be reduced if not flat out dismissed. I think focusing on those two things is what makes a difference for my clients, and many of my cases.
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