In an effort to conserve resources many town and county law enforcement
organizations utilize "joint drug task forces" to make wide
spread drug arrests.
Westchester County & Putnam County Drug Arrests
Westchester and Putnam County utilize this strategy to increase their drug
arrests especially in the county border communities such asSoutheast, Brewster, Kent, Carmel, Mahopac and Cold Spring in Putnam County and
Peekskill, Yorktown, Somers, Lewisboro and North Salem in Westchester County.
Since these specialized drug task force arrests are usually well organized
between two or more law enforcement agencies the best drug offense criminal
defense lawyers have to be aggressive at every stage of the case.
In order to attack the arrest and the District Attorney's evidence
there are basic steps that the top criminal drug offense lawyers must know.
The following are my Top 5:
Investigate the Stop of the Accused by Police: Task force drug investigations and arrests always involve a stop of an
accused either for a direct arrest or for further investigation. It is
very important for the criminal defense lawyer to know all the details
of the police stop of the accused to prepare for suppression if the accused's
constitutional rights were violated. For example, police officers can
not approach an individual based only on a "hunch" and frisk
the individual. Police officers can not pull over a vehicle, without reason,
and search for drugs. A detailed review of the facts of the case will
reveal if an accused's rights were violated.
Miranda Violation: Any use of an accused's statements in direct violation of Miranda
Rights must be suppressed. Police officers use various strategies to obtain
statements from a suspect or force the suspect to waive their Miranda
rights. For example, the police will lie to a suspect, make promises to
"put in a good word" with the District Attorney, threaten a
higher more serious charge unless a statement is provided or tell an accused
that high bail will be set unless they make a statement. All of these
practices must be attacked to have any statements made in violation of
Miranda rights suppressed.
Undercover Informants: To make their job easier the police will commonly use undercover informants
to build a case for an arrest. A criminal defense attorney has to attack
the use of undercover informants. Many times an informant is "working
off" several arrests of their own, addicted to any number of drugs,
they may have a transient lifestyle or orchestrate a "set up"
for an arrest. The most aggressive defense against an informant is to
attack their credibility and motives for working with the police.
Laboratory Reports/Speedy Trial: After every drug arrest the evidence (drugs) seized is sent to be analyzed
by the County laboratory. In Westchester County, the County Laboratory
is located on the campus at the Westchester County Medical Center. It
is important to demand a laboratory report regarding the drugs or other
evidence seized. This is necessary to determine the exact controlled substance
the prosecution will try to present into evidence and the weight of the
controlled substance (Felony vs. Misdemeanor weight). Importantly, the
laboratory report must be furnished to the accused's defense attorney
in order for the District Attorney to proceed with the case. Many times
speedy trial rights are a factor because of a delay in the return of a
laboratory report. In general, the District Attorney must be ready to
proceed to trial within 6 months on a felony and 90 days on a "A"
Misdemeanor drug charge. The District Attorney can not be ready for trial
without a laboratory report.
Chain of Custody: During a trial the District Attorney must present proof that the evidence
(drugs) to be presented at trial was not tampered with in any way. To
do this, the District Attorney must present documentation and individuals
that had custody of the evidence from the arrest to trial. As a criminal
defense attorney it is always necessary to determine if the District Attorney
can meet this burden because if there is a significant break in the chain
of custody it could lead to the suppression of the evidence.
At Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP our attorneys understand all types
of drug cases and the best strategy for their defense both before and
during a trial.
We take the time to explain the legal process and strategy to you, listen
to your concerns, answer your questions and offer you advice to achieve
your goals and protect your rights.
We will aggressively protect you during the criminal prosecution.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for any type of drug offense call
our office for a free consultation. (914) 946-4808.