Constitutional Issues in DC Drug Cases

The most common constitutional issues in DC drug cases involve the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Under the Fourth Amendment, people have the right against unreasonable search and seizures. The Fifth Amendment gives people the right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves. The Sixth Amendment allows people the right to legal counsel.

If law enforcement has violated one of your constitutional rights, it could impact your drug case. The evidence law enforcement obtains through illegal means could be thrown out. Therefore, a constitutional violation could lead to drug charges mitigated or dropped.

If you have any questions regarding your constitutional rights, contact an experienced DUI lawyer.

Search and Seizures

For an officer to search a person, their vehicle, or their property, they must have probable cause or a warrant. Drug arrests frequently happen following a traffic stop. In this situation, the officer must have probable cause to stop the car. A common example of probable cause for a pulling a car over is if the driver is speeding. If the officer looks into the driver’s window when approaching the vehicle and sees drugs, they could arrest the driver for possession. This is a straightforward procedure and the search and seizure would not be considered unreasonable.

However, the most constitutional issues in DC drug cases is the violation of the Fourth Amendment. This may happen if an officer sees a person they consider to be suspicious and searches them without their consent. This is an example of an unreasonable search. In a traffic stop, the driver does not have to consent to a search unless the officer has probable cause or a warrant. This also applies to a person’s home.

Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment of the constitution protects an individual from incriminating themselves and speaking to be forced or compelled to offer evidence against them. In practice, if someone is arrested or in police custody, they do not have any obligation to speak to the police. Being in police custody is considered inherently coercive, meaning that any statement that someone makes to police in that situation is in the eyes of the law, involuntary, and not reliable.

In that situation, the law recognizes that there is a strong likelihood they may be less than truthful in an effort to please the officer and safely get out of that situation. That means that if the officer wants to question the person in custody, they need to advise them of their rights, which is commonly known as the Miranda Warnings. The Miranda Rights advise the person they have the right to remain silent and they have a right to speak to lawyer.

If the person in custody gets the Miranda Warnings, acknowledges that they understand the Miranda Warnings, and still decides to answer questions, the statements are considered voluntary and could be used as evidence against the person. Many times, the facts are not clear about whether or not a person was in police custody, the statements were mitigated if they were advised of their rights before making any statements, and what was said during the statement.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you are facing drug charges and you believe your constitutional rights were violated, contact a lawyer today. A seasoned attorney could advocate for you and help protect your rights. A well-versed legal professional who is knowledgeable about the constitutional issues in DC drug cases could help you reach a favorable outcome to your case.