This is the next post in my series discussing defending against drug trafficking charges in Peoria, Illinois. The previous article provided information about the impact of illegal searches and seizures in drug trafficking cases. Evidence obtained by law enforcement in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure rules may possibly be excluded from a case. Depending upon what other evidence is available to the prosecution, the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence could result in the dismissal of drug trafficking charges. Fourth Amendment issues can be complicated. It is imperative, therefore, to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests. In this post, I will evaluate how evidence of drug trafficking coupled with other criminal activity may impact your case. If you have been arrested, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Those charged with trafficking illegal substances often face charges for related criminal activity, such as reckless driving to elude police, robbery, or illegal possession of a firearm. Suppose for example that police searching a suspect in a drug bust locate a firearm during their search. Suppose the suspect is not legally in possession of the firearm either because he is a convicted felon, the weapon was stolen, or he does not have the appropriate registration. In such cases, the defendant will not only face drug trafficking charges but will also likely be charged with additional federal or state gun charges. A firearm or other criminal charge may also elevate a trafficking offense to a higher level charge (such as a misdemeanor to a felony). As a result, the accused would likely face increased penalties for the underlying trafficking charge, such as longer periods of potential incarceration or higher fines. Further, if convicted of multiple crimes, a judge may require the sentences for each crime to run successively rather than at the same time, resulting in even longer time behind bars.
Given the potential consequences involved in trafficking charges, particularly when other crimes are involved, it is imperative to vigorously defend oneself against the accusations. In some cases, it may be possible to defend against the accompanying charges by successfully defending against the underlying drug trafficking charge. For instance, if the police found evidence of drug trafficking and illegal firearm possession during an illegal traffic stop, it may be possible to exclude the evidence of both crimes on the basis of a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Depending upon the facts of the specific situation, some or all evidence against the accused may be excluded. Suppose, in our example above, the police were justified in making their traffic stop, during which they discovered an illegal firearm while frisking the driver. Without obtaining a warrant, the police then searched the trunk of the car and found a large amount of heroin. Under these circumstances, the court may determine that the pat-down of the driver was valid, therefore allowing the admission of the firearm into evidence. On the other hand, the court may determine that the trunk search was illegal, therefore rendering the heroin inadmissible. As a result, the drug trafficking charge may be dropped. It is important to understand that how a judge will rule on any specific evidentiary issue will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
Knowledgeable counsel can conduct a thorough investigation of the facts to determine whether a defense may be available. I am a criminal defense attorney with experience in these matters. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. We also service the cities of Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.