Building a Federal Drug Defense in New York

A lawyer can use a variety of tactics to show weakness in the prosecutor's case. They can attack the weight of drugs or show that the individual has a minimal role or is a minor participant. When they are successful at proving weaknesses in the case, they can then get a lower plea offer. If the case goes to sentencing, an experienced federal drug attorney can show that a potential client was not a drug dealer and was involved in positive things that merit some mitigation in sentencing. There are many ways to get a lower sentence in a drug case, no matter how ugly it is.

Developing a Defense Strategy

A lawyer looks for the softness in the prosecution's case such as cooperators. If the cooperators are the main source of evidence in the case, the attorney wants to impeach their credibility. The lawyer might go into federal prisons to interview cooperating witnesses against their client. They do everything possible to win a case. Many times, that means they must be aggressive as a defense lawyer.

Common defense strategies for federal drug cases include motions to suppress searches or the fruits of a wiretap. Those should be made in every case when such searches and wiretaps exist. The lawyer identifies the cooperators. However, the government does not often pick honest and law-abiding people to be the cooperators and often end up with unscrupulous people.

Federal drug cases can be affected commensurately when the prosecutors have people who are liars and cheaters as their cooperators. The lawyer starts at the beginning to get to the bottom of cooperators' credibility. They want to see who the cooperators were robbing and stealing from. The government does not supply that information to the defense team.

What is Based on Constitutionality?

Constitutionality is based on search and seizure, the right to privacy, and the Fourth Amendment. Those are the main constitutional issues the lawyer examines. The goal is to try to suppress searches and seizures, wiretapped evidence, and things of that nature.

Common Constitutional Issues

The search and seizure issue is the most common constitutional issue in drug cases. The Fourth Amendment is important in terms of someone’s voice being captured on wiretaps in their homes or other places where they believe they have privacy from being searched. The search and seizure and the suppression of statements are the two main constitutional issues.

As with state cases, the most common Constitutional issue seen is 4th amendment violations. This can either apply to physical property that was recovered, how it was recovered, whether it was recovered by warrant or through “exigent circumstances,” whether any warrants were validly issued based on truthful information, etc.

There are also issues with the seizure of telephonic evidence through wiretapping and GPS location collection. In order to follow Constitutional guidelines, prosecutors must be very careful to follow procedural requirements, and even minor mistakes can result in wiretap evidence being suppressed for violating the 4th amendment.