Even when a large amount of a drug has been seized as evidence, a drug charge does not automatically lead to a conviction. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you have a right to defend against the charge.

When building a defense, the following three basic factors should be analyzed to determine whether your rights were violated at any point, and whether the charge should be reduced or dismissed:

1. The arrest — Police must have probable cause (adequate reason) to arrest you. What constitutes probable cause is frequently in question in drug crime cases. If probable cause is in doubt in your case, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to challenge the claims of police and prosecutors. Many criminal charges are ultimately dismissed after it is shown that police lacked probable cause to make an arrest.

2. The evidence — An effective defense will involve scrutinizing the evidence itself, as well as how the evidence was obtained by police. For example, if there are inconsistencies in laboratory testing of a particular drug, the evidence may be faulty. Also, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from illegal search and seizure. Evidence that is faulty and evidence that was seized unlawfully by police can be suppressed from court, and the charge may be dismissed.

3. Police conduct — Unfortunately, sometimes misconduct on the part of police officers leads to false charges against innocent people. Entrapment, excessive force and the planting of evidence are three forms of police conduct that can result in the dismissal of criminal charges.

Before talking to police or investigators, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., represents clients throughout Palm Beach County.