Many drug cases arise out of a traffic stop. If the police stopped the car without legal justification, or if after a valid stop, they exceeded their lawful authority in searching the vehicle, the evidence they obtained may be suppressed. Investigating the facts surrounding the stop and the search of your automobile, may be key to identifying illegal action of the police that may allow you to file a pretrial motion challenging the stop or the search, and seeking to exclude all illegally obtained evidence from use at trial.
Many defendants facing drug charges are offered incentives by the police to provide information about others who possess drugs, or who are involved in the manufacture or sale of drugs. Information provided by such informants is often used by the police as the basis for obtaining search warrants for the search of a person, a vehicle, or a residence, which leads to the discovery of drug evidence, and to the arrest of the persons the police believe are responsible. Many times, search warrant applications are improperly prepared, the information contained in the applications is too old to be legally relevant, or the search warrant is not obtained or executed in the manner required by the U.S. and Iowa constitutions. A motion to suppress that reveals these legal errors to the court is often successful in excluding from use at trial all evidence obtained in the search.
In many cases, a lawyer can identify gray areas in the preparation of the state’s case—areas where the actions of law enforcement officers may give rise to a successful motion to suppress. Even when the outcome of a well-documented motion to suppress is uncertain, the filing of such a motion may give your lawyer the bargaining power, especially when combined with your effort to seek appropriate treatment, to obtain a drastic reduction in the charge or the sentence.
Iowa’s drug laws permit the prosecution of drug charges when only a very small amount of a drug is found. For instance, if a small amount of a drug is dissolved into a liquid (e.g. methamphetamine residue in a jar of Coleman fuel), Iowa law permits the police to weigh the entire liquid to determine the weight of the drug, and consequently, the level of the offense. Another example is Iowa’s drugged driving law, which forbids driving when there is “any amount” of an illegal drug in your system (no matter how small), even when there is no proof that the drug caused any impairment of your ability to drive. One way to successfully overcome these laws, is to employ an expert witness who can re-test the substances, or who can identify potential sources for contamination of the samples tested by the state lab.
Drug charges are not easy to defend. However, a successful defense strategy can be developed in every case, aggressively challenging the state’s evidence, seeking out a drug treatment program, or a combination of both strategies. As your criminal defense lawyer, I will put my skills and experience to work for you to find the best defense possible to the drug charges you face.