How Can a Drug-Related Case Be Dismissed?
Interviewer: What are ways that drug cases can get dismissed?
Forensics May Prove You Did Not Possess a Controlled Substance
Brett Hollett: Like I touched upon, if in fact the substance that you are arrested for, once it’s tested by the Department of Forensic Science and if it doesn’t come back as the drug that they thought it was or the weight they thought it was or it doesn’t come back as a controlled substance at all—then they may have to dismiss your case.
Successful Completion of the Conditions Imposed by the Drug Court Can Lead to a Dismissal
If you complete a diversionary program and you do everything you’re supposed to do the case would be dismissed. If certain evidence is suppressed, based on evidentiary reasons, the state may feel like they can no longer proceed with their case and your case may be dismissed.
Failure to Be Read the Miranda Rights Does Not Guarantee a Dismissal
Interviewer: What if Miranda rights were not read? Does that guarantee a dismissal?
Miranda Rights Only Apply to Statements Made While You Are in Custody
Brett Hollett: No, unfortunately, Miranda rights only have to be read if the police engage in further questioning with you. If you just start volunteering information to the officer or if the officer is just asking you questions on the scene, Miranda rights are not required to be read. But once you are in custody and the officer then tries to initiate further questioning, at that point they’d need to read your Miranda rights.
During a routine traffic stop or before he actually puts you into physical custody, the officer is under no requirement to read you your Miranda rights.
Can Drug Charges Be Expunged in Alabama?
Interviewer: What kind of drug charges can get expunged?
Alabama Has Strict Laws Concerning Expungement—Only Possession and Distribution Charges That Were Dismissed Are Eligible—Convictions Cannot Be Expunged
Brett Hollett: Right now, the latest Alabama expungement law went into effect on July 7, 2014. We’re not allowed to expunge any cases that have convictions. In order for a drug offender to be eligible, the case would either need to be dismissed for some reason, whether through a pre-trial diversion program like Drug Court or through a not guilty verdict.
The only drug offenses that are eligible for expungement now would be possession and distribution. Trafficking of any drug is not eligible.
The Type of Drug Involved in a Charge Is Not a Factor in Admittance to the Drug Court
Interviewer: If the drug case involves a harder drug and it’s a first time offender, will they still be given the opportunity to take these pre-trial diversion programs?
Brett Hollett: Yes, the drug court is not going to discriminate on the type of drug that’s used. The only time that you may not be eligible for some pre-trial diversion programs is if the case is more serious. If you were charged with distribution or trafficking, you may not be eligible. The type of drug is not really that important.
What If the Police Discover Marijuana in Your Home While They Are There for an Unrelated Reason?
Interviewer: What if someone was growing marijuana in their home and the police were called in for a different situation, such as a domestic violence incident. The police discover the marijuana plants. How is a case like that going to be handled?
A Lack of a Search Warrant Can Result in Evidence Suppression, Unless Consent for a Search Was Given
Brett Hollett: If the police didn’t have a valid search warrant or if they didn’t have valid consent from someone in the house to search the house then that evidence should be suppressed. They shouldn’t be able to move forward with a case on the marijuana find.
However, if someone at the house, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the individual who was arrested, who has the legal right to be there gave consent to search the house—then they may very well be facing additional charges.
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