How to Get Drug Trafficking Charges Dismissed
If you have been arrested for a drug crime like trafficking, you’re not alone. Between 2000 and 2018, more than 302,000 people were arrested for drug crimes in Allegheny County. Luckily, you have options to dismiss your charges depending on your case.
What Is Drug Trafficking in Pennsylvania?
Before we discuss how to beat drug trafficking charges, we should take a step back and understand what is considered drug trafficking in Pennsylvania. This charge goes by several names, including possession with intent to distribute and drug distribution, but the Statutes of Pennsylvania refer to it as drug trafficking.
Drug trafficking is the crime of importing, transporting or selling illegal controlled substances. It is a much more severe charge than drug possession. It is usually a felony, and prison and fines are determined by the substance and amount you’re accused of trafficking.
Here are six ways an attorney can help beat your charges:
1. Don’t Speak Without an Attorney Present
This guidance applies to almost any time you are arrested. No matter how friendly police may be or how much they try to get in your head, do not do it. You have a right to remain silent, and this is an excellent time to exercise that right.
The police are trying to get you to say something that will make it easier to convict you on a drug trafficking charge. And they are good at getting you to make mistakes — regardless of whether you are guilty of the crime.
2. Know Your Rights
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees you a right to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Under the Fourth Amendment, police must have a warrant or probable cause to search your home, vehicle, or person unless you give consent to the search. If your arrest was made based on illegally obtained evidence, a judge might dismiss your charges.
3. Build a Bulletproof Defense
Building a compelling defense is critical. This is the argument your attorney will make against the prosecution.
The prosecution must show that you had a controlled substance in your possession and you distributed it or intended to do so. You might have a clear path to victory if you can build a defense that discredits any part of that.
Although each case is unique and requires a tailored defense, here are some common defenses to drug trafficking charges:
- You did not distribute or intend to distribute the drugs.
- The controlled substance in question did not belong to you.
- You were unlawfully searched.
- You were a victim of police entrapment.
- You did not have enough of the drug to qualify for a trafficking charge under Pennsylvania law.
4. Preserve All Possible Evidence
The police and prosecutors will gather evidence to convict you of drug trafficking. You will likely need proof of your own to beat your charge. This evidence comes in many forms and depends on the defense you choose, but the most important thing is to preserve anything you might want to use as evidence in your trial.
Suppose you have text messages on your phone that show that you did not intend to distribute the drugs in your possession. In that case, you need to make copies of those messages. You can’t use evidence to get your charges dismissed when it disappears.
5. Consider Pre-Trial Diversion
People charged with drug crimes in Pennsylvania might be eligible for pre-trial diversion programs. These are programs like the Allegheny County Drug Court that allow participants to plead guilty to a drug crime and undergo drug treatment or probation instead of facing criminal penalties.
These programs often have strict requirements, and many trafficking cases will not be eligible. But a qualified attorney can advise you of your best course of action regarding these programs.
6. Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Knowing how to beat drug trafficking charges is different than doing it. Beating a drug charge will involve mountains of legal experience and knowledge. That’s why it’s best to seek help from a trusted criminal defense attorney.
Your lawyer can advise you of your options and guide you every step of the way as you fight your drug trafficking charge. If you’re ready to get started, we’re prepared to hear from you. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, at 412-281-2146 or online today.