A person accused of possession of cocaine, whether in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or any other area of Florida, must consider what defenses to possession cocaine, if any, exist in his/her case before making the decision to have a trial or take a plea bargain. This is where an experienced criminal defense lawyer comes into play. Identifying the defenses present in a possession of cocaine case requires courtroom experience, knowledge of the drug laws, and creativity on the part of the criminal defense attorney.
Legal Defenses to Possession Cocaine
When analyzing defenses to possession cocaine, a criminal lawyer must first determine if the client’s case presents any legal defenses. A legal defense, which is different from a factual defense, addresses legal procedure and whether or not your case presents any violation of law on the part of police, the courts, or the prosecution.
Legal defenses arise when the police or the prosecution break a law or violate a rule of procedure during the investigation or litigation of your case. When the police obtain evidence by violating the law, a judge is typically required to suppress the evidence and prevent the prosecutor from using it at trial. When the prosecution violates a rule of procedure, some remedies require the exclusion of evidence or witnesses, discharge of the case, or other sanctions.
Common legal defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Illegal traffic stops or detention
- Unlawful search or seizure
- Violation of speedy trial rights
- Violation of Miranda rights
When evidence is suppressed, the consequences to prosecutors can be catastrophic. Without evidence to admit at trial, their entire case may fall apart. This gives a criminal defense attorney a tremendous advantage. In some cases, the suppression of evidence can cause an entire case to be dropped by prosecutors.
In fact, when cocaine is suppressed in a possession of cocaine case, the charges are typically dropped. In other instances, the suppression of evidence may force prosecutors to offer reduced sentences, probation instead of prison, or even a reduction of charges to a lesser offense.
For example, if the police didn’t read you your rights before they interrogated you in custody, all your statements may be suppressed by the judge. This may weaken the prosecution’s case so much that they are unable to proceed.
In other cases, police may conduct an illegal search of your person or property. When this occurs, any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search must also be suppressed. In yet other circumstances, if the prosecution or the judge violates your rights to a speedy trial, the entire case may be discharged forever.
As one can imagine, there are literally thousands of different types of legal defenses that may apply to your case. To determine if your possession of cocaine case presents such opportunities, a criminal defense lawyer needs to analyze the facts of your case and apply the controlling law and rules of procedure.