February 21, 2024
Colorado drug industry is big business, and when law enforcement talks about being tough on crime, they mean extra tough on illegal traffickers.
Drug trafficking charges are treated more seriously – and carry far heavier penalties – than possession, sale, and manufacturing charges.
If you are facing trafficking accusations, remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Fighting back can be intimidating, but it can be (and has been) done.
In today’s post, we share the five most common defense strategies in these kinds of cases. Know, however, that not every strategy will work in each drug trafficking case.
An experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer can help you develop one tailored to the facts surrounding your specific case, collect the appropriate evidence, and help you communicate your situation in a court of law so you can walk away with the best possible outcome.
What are some of the most common strategies?
Colorado Drug Trafficking Defense I: I Didn’t Traffic Drugs
In some cases, the only evidence against you is the point of a finger – maybe a law enforcement officer, someone trying to save themselves, even a nosy, ill-informed neighbor.
However the case may appear from the outside, when you didn’t traffic drugs, but have been accused of doing so, you have to fight those false accusations. Here are a few ways you can:
● Offer evidence of profiling or bias on behalf of the accuser
● Provide alibis to counter their story
● Gather testimony from witnesses to prove you weren’t involved in the alleged crime
Write down every detail you can think of about the time and circumstances surrounding your charges, and share the information with your attorney.
Colorado Drug Trafficking Defense II: I Didn’t Intend to Traffic Drugs
One key element of securing a drug trafficking conviction is to establish intent. State law says it’s illegal to:
- Knowingly manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute (or possess with intent to do any of those things with) a controlled substance
- Induce, attempt to induce, or conspire with one or more other persons, to manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute
- Possess the chemicals, supplies or equipment required with intent to manufacture a controlled substance
While not every state has separate charges for the possession, sale, or trafficking of drugs, Colorado does. The fact remains, not all people caught with drugs intend to “move” them.
Large quantities of drugs automatically send up a red flag. Unfortunately, officers can’t always tell the difference between personal use and what is intended for sale or movement. If trafficking isn’t what you intended, you may be able to have your charges reduced.
Colorado Drug Trafficking Defense III: Evidence Was Taken from Me Unlawfully
The above defense is only applicable when officers find drugs on your person or property, but there is also certain protocol law enforcement must follow for gathering the evidence. When the protocol is broken, any evidence obtained becomes inadmissible in court.
Let’s say you were pulled over for speeding. The officers approach your vehicle, and without probable cause, demand to conduct a search.
Any evidence found is what will likely make or break your case, but if it was obtained unlawfully, you can argue it should be thrown out.
Talk to your lawyer about how your arrest went down. When any evidence against you was obtained unlawfully, you will have a better shot at winning your case.
Colorado Drug Trafficking Defense IV: There Is No Evidence
Protocol doesn’t end at gathering it legally from your possession. There is a chain of custody that must be explicitly followed – and documented – as well.
Because evidence is only useful when it can be presented in court, evaluating proper handling of the evidence is important to your case. Sometimes evidence changes hands, isn’t preserved or documented properly. Sometimes the evidence gets lost.
When evidence is missing or inadmissible due to mishandling, it cannot be shown to a jury. No evidence means no conviction.
Colorado Drug Trafficking Defense V: I Was Set Up or Forced
An unfortunate occurrence, it does happen – law enforcement officers can abuse their power or set up a crime scene to frame someone. Often it isn’t a personal vendetta against you, but more likely the easiest route to closing a case.
Know these top three underhanded strategies, and if any apply to your case, talk to your lawyer immediately. You may have grounds for charges to be dropped.
This occurs when a law enforcement official convinces you to commit a crime that you otherwise would never have committed.
Duress is similar to entrapment in that a defendant may have felt pressured or threatened to commit a crime by a law enforcement officer, family member, close associate, or even a total stranger.
This one is exactly what you think. Officers can plant evidence on your person or property only to “find” them and use them against you later.
There are many ways to fight back against trafficking charges, and today, we’ve armed you with information on the most common defenses. Enlist the help of a Colorado criminal defense lawyer for more information on what strategy is more appropriate for your case.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.