Drug charges in New Jersey can affect a person’s life in many ways. The penalties if a conviction occurs can be severe and depend on the type and amount of drugs.
These charges require a thorough investigation into various facts that can significantly impact the outcome of the case.
1. Circumstances of the arrest
Authorities charge people in New Jersey with drug offenses more than other types of crimes. Begin by scrutinizing the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Did authorities follow proper procedures? Any deviation from legal protocols during the arrest could potentially be grounds for challenging the charges.
2. Search and seizure procedures
Did law enforcement obtain a valid search warrant, if required? Were any items seized in violation of Fourth Amendment rights? Illegally obtained evidence may be inadmissible in court, making it important to investigate the legality of the search and seizure.
3. Chain of custody
A review of the chain of custody is important. This involves tracking the handling of evidence from the time of seizure to its presentation in court. Any break in the chain of custody may cast doubt on the reliability of the evidence and, consequently, the prosecution’s case.
4. Substance identification
Defendants must delve into the specifics of how authorities identified the alleged illegal substances. Did proper testing occur? Any errors or inconsistencies in the testing process could compromise the accuracy of the results, providing an avenue for disputing the charges.
5. Witness statements
Carefully analyze witness statements, especially those of law enforcement officers. Inconsistencies or contradictions in their accounts may be grounds for challenging the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
6. Mitigating circumstances
Exploring any mitigating circumstances is helpful. Factors such as medical conditions, prescription use or mistaken identity may present opportunities to challenge the charges or seek a reduction in penalties.
By taking a few steps, defendants can better position themselves to navigate the legal complexities and work toward a favorable outcome.