Proving New York City Drug Distribution Offenses
There is an increased push for law enforcement to combat organizations that distribute dangerous narcotics like cocaine, crack, heroin, and methamphetamines. While law enforcement always employs the use of undercover police officers, confidential informants, and cooperating witnesses, they have increased their use of surreptitious surveillance techniques such as wiretaps, traps, bugging devices, and trace devices for cars.
This increase in covert methods of investigation is one of many ways the police are going about proving New York drug distribution offenses. With such aggressive investigation of drug distribution charges, you need an attorney who can be equally aggressive in defending you. If you are facing charges for drug distribution you should speak to a capable and tenacious drug distribution lawyer that can fight for you.
There is a big push in New York to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. Mere possession of minor amounts of marijuana was deemed non-criminal. When a person is caught with a small amount of marijuana, it does not result in a criminal record. There is a growing public sentiment that recreational use of marijuana should not be against the law.
Evidence the Prosecution Uses
When proving New York drug distribution offenses, the prosecution must first produce evidence that anything claimed to be a narcotic drug is actually a drug. The authorities test the seized drugs to ensure that they are, in fact, what they are alleged to be in the indictment. Beyond that, the evidence required depends on the specific charge. If a person is charged with possession, the prosecutor must prove that the person had physical possession or was in a situation where they had dominion and control over the illegal substances.
When the case deals with drug sales rather than possession, the prosecution must establish that a transaction was made where the person agreed to exchange drugs for some consideration such as money. This can be done through direct testimony of police officers working undercover, confidential information, or cooperating witnesses. It can be done through surveillance camera footage or wiretaps.
Occasionally in organized crime cases involving illegal drugs, law enforcement catches less important members of an organization in the act. The officers offer them a cooperation deal to obtain evidence against the higher-ranking members to indict and convict them. Evidence also comes from the testimony of the lower-ranking members.
Contested Elements of Drug Distribution
Police observations are a big part of a trial. They are contested in terms of the police officer’s motivation to secure a conviction. The same thing is true with cooperators. Their bias and motive in a case can be contested. When a police officer or a cooperating witness testifies, the defense attorney can try to impugn their credibility by demonstrating that they will say anything to get a conviction.
Credibility of Police Testimony
Police officers can be dubious witnesses because they are more willing to lie or exaggerate the truth to get a conviction. Prosecutors frequently claim that police have no reason to testify falsely or exaggerate their observations. However, the fact is their careers and promotions are largely tied to convictions on the arrests they make.
If police officers make any errors, there can be significant negative ramifications. There are extensive reasons to provide testimony that is most helpful at trial for the prosecution. Police officers are not always the best judge of what makes a good witness in front of a jury.
Value of an Attorney
Law enforcement’s primary focus is on proving New York drug distribution offenses, sometimes at the expense of your rights. A good defense lawyer is capable of impeaching the credibility of police officers and cooperating witnesses. A skilled attorney can look at the existing evidence in your case, and build a solid case for you. If you face charges for a drug distribution offense, contact a qualified drug distribution attorney who can challenge the credibility of witnesses effectively, and fight for you.