Federal drug crimes in Washington, DC are taken very seriously and often prosecuted severely. For this reason, it is important that if you are accused you put forth the strongest possible defense with the assistance of a DC federal drug lawyer.
Read below to learn the steps a drug lawyer can take to build a defense for your case, and then call and schedule a consultation to learn more.
When an attorney is given a DC federal drug case, or any other type of drug case one of the most important things to start with is talking to the client. The client will have very valuable information, especially in cases were there are recordings such as wiretaps involved. In these cases a lawyer will want to know what potentially was going on during these conversations that could raise reasonable doubt or demonstrate that the conversations were not about what the government thinks they were about. Once this information is collected, the attorney can really begin to go out and do their own investigation by gathering evidence and talking to people that will corroborate that information. All of which is the primary step toward building a defense.
If the client was recorded and that information is being used against them then it is imperative that the defense attorney look into the actual words that were spoken and confirm what they were talking about. For example, if someone was talking about ordering or delivering flowers, it’s important to go out and confirm that he or she was working at a florist shop. During the initial investigation, an attorney will go out and confirm that person’s employment, speak with their supervisors, co-workers, and then potentially call on these people as witnesses at trial.
It’s important to keep in mind that the government may not do these types of investigations and follow-ups because once they have those conversations as “evidence” they’ve made the determination that they’re drug-related and a lot of times they may not feel the need to investigate.
An experienced DC federal drug lawyer however will want to dig deeper.
It is also important to analyze all of the evidence that the government has gathered and to look at the holes in their investigation. For example, if there is a client who was accused of being the supplier of drugs to a person who was actually selling to an undercover agent, a criminal attorney will often do a close analysis of all the documents that the government has to assemble in order to get search warrants, get authorization to tap phones, or to employ their other investigative techniques.
There are often situations where the government was actually investigating multiple other individuals who they believed to be drug suppliers, and that’s huge evidence in support of one client’s case. It should raise a huge reasonable doubt in a potential juror’s mind that, in fact, that this one client is not involved, or at least not to the extent that the government alleges.
I have a lot of experience dealing with federal drug cases. They require a certain level of aggressiveness on the litigation front, because the harder you push on certain issues, for example on Bill of Particular issues or on issues concerning exculpatory evidence, like Brady issues, the better results you get. Particularly in a drug conspiracy case, you don’t want to be passive. The stronger you are, the more options you have, and the more options you have, the more able you are to target a favorable outcome for your client.
Brady v. Maryland was a Supreme Court case handed down in 1963 that says that the government has to give the defense evidence that tends to “exculpate” them, which refers to any evidence that shows your client didn’t do what they’re accused of or that could result in a lighter sentence.
Recently, on another opinion in the District of Columbia, the DC Court of Appeals essentially brought in the prosecutors’ obligation to disclose Brady material under an ethics rule which greatly expanded its scope. Now that concept will spread to other federal jurisdictions, but it’s important to know because you want the court to constantly be pushing the prosecutor to disclose that type of information.
In most situations, the prosecution is not deliberately hiding something, but they don’t necessarily realize that something tends to exculpate a defendant, so it’s important that you push the issue. For example, in a case where a client is accused of supplying somebody who is selling drugs to an undercover officer, and you find evidence in the government’s own materials that they were actually looking at another person, as a supplier, you could then make a Brady request to say, “what other information do you have about this person? What other information do you have about their movements during this time frame? Are there any surveillance videos of this person?” We’re trying to get that information to build a defense for the client.
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