A conviction for drug charges in Missouri could be traumatic. The state has some of the most stringent drug laws and, should you get convicted, you should get ready for hefty fines and possibly a long jail term.
While drug crimes could lead to life-altering consequences, there are legal ways to avoid conviction. When you’re faced with drug charges, avoid making some of the following common mistakes.
Consenting to illegal police searches
The evidence brought against the accused in a drug case is only admissible if acquired in the right way. If, for instance, law enforcement officers found the drugs in your home after searching, the evidence gathered could be suppressed if the officers did not have a search warrant.
Even in situations where the police have a search warrant, it might not have given them authority to search certain areas of your property. If the drugs are found in an area of your home not covered by the warrant, the police evidence will be suppressed. The Fourth Amendment guarantees you the right to decline potentially illegal searches.
Talking to the police in the absence of your attorney
While the arresting officers might appear friendly, helpful and understanding, you should be aware that they could be trying to extract as much information from you as possible. The information acquired in this way might end up being produced as evidence against you. Since the chances of making incriminating representations are high, you’re advised to avoid speaking to the police before consulting your attorney.
Failing to take advantage of Miranda rights
Whenever you’re facing criminal charges, there are 5 Miranda rights that you should take advantage of. First, you have a right not to talk to arresting officers during questioning and staying silent can never be used against you in court. The arresting officers should also let you know that whatever you say could be used against you in court. Additionally, you have the right to speak to an attorney and, should you be unable to pay one, an attorney should be appointed for you.
Missouri drug laws are complex. When facing drug charges, you could save yourself from the trouble of a prison sentence (or a punitive fine) by making sure that your rights are protected. Since it’s possible that police officers could break the law when collecting evidence, you need to be sure that the evidence-gathering exercise did not infringe on your rights. Most importantly, you should be alert and never divulge information that could be incriminating.