Can drug trafficking charges in Alabama be dropped?
Yes. Sometimes drug trafficking charges are dropped.
There are three circumstances under which trafficking cases may be dropped:
1. The state chooses to drop the charges.
. Sometimes trafficking cases are dropped because Alabama's state chooses to be kind to an accused person. Why would the state be kind to a person who they believed to be trafficking in drugs?
There are a variety of reasons.
Sometimes, people accused of trafficking choose to work as confidential informants for the very people who arrest them. If their cooperation results in a significant arrest (or arrests), this may benefit the accused. Some people may never be arrested because of their cooperation. Others may be arrested but ultimately may have their charges either reduced to a less serious criminal offense or altogether dismissed. In speaking with past clients have noticed that they either want to work or insist that they would never serve as a "snitch." While I will advise on the benefits and risks involved in either choice, I let my clients decide what's best for them.
Sometimes, the state prosecutor may agree to a reduction or dismissal of charges based on a given case's particular facts. For example, in Alabama, a person knowing possession of 2.2 pounds of marijuana would be guilty of trafficking under our laws. Occasionally prosecutors view these laws as too harsh and may be willing to, in their discretion, reduce the trafficking charge so that a person does not a mandatory sentence of imprisonment.
Two use a real-life example, and I recently had a client who, after his arrest, immediately entered a rehab program and completed the program. While the number of drugs that he had could have resulted in a trafficking conviction, the prosecutor, in light of my client's self-help efforts, was willing to reduce the charges such that my client was able to avoid going to prison.
s Sometimes, these cases are dropped because an accused provides substantial assistance to Alabama's state by serving as a confidential informant against someone else who has more significant criminal conduct.
2. Key evidence becomes unavailable to the state, and the state has no choice but to drop the charges.
A diligent lawyer will explore the evidence to see if any mistakes can be used to benefit their client. If law enforcement has made significant mistakes, a lawyer may file a motion asking that the evidence be kept out (or suppressed) from being presented at trial. Frequently, the lawyer will look for some violation of the accused's rights under the Constitution.
For example, I had a client that the state correctly assumed had a large number of drugs. They knew he was having a party, and they suspected he would have enough drugs there to bust him for trafficking. When someone left the party, the drug officers stopped this individual and searched for drugs without success. They then went to the door of my client's house and knocked. When my client answered the door, the police pushed their way in and asked him about any drugs that might be present in his apartment. My client told them to "kiss-off," although he used a somewhat stronger term for this. Because the police entered his residence without a search warrant because there were no applicable exceptions to their entering his home without a search warrant, the drug evidence was due to be suppressed. Without proof of actual drugs being permitted in the trial, the state had no option but to dismiss the charges against my client.
3. The case itself is not strong enough to merit prosecution.
Sometimes the prosecutor will look at his case and determine that his winning odds are not particularly good. If the prosecutor thinks his point is weak, he may outright dismiss the charges or, he may choose to offer a reduced cost as a compromise.
For example, I had a case where my client pulled up outside of her ex-boyfriend's apartment while a drug raid was going on. She went to the apartment because they had a child in familiar and wanted to retrieve her child. There was a women's clothing present in the apartment, and she had been present with her ex-boyfriend on a previous occasion when the police had conducted an unsuccessful raid. During that occasion, when the police tried to question her then-boyfriend, she told him to keep his mouth shut. It was pretty clear that the police had a grudge against her because of that previous incident. Because of the female clothing and the baby bottle in the house, my client was arrested. The police tried to assert that since she pulled up outside of the house during the raid and female clothing, she was aware of the trafficking quantity of drugs.
From the outset, the case against my client was weak. I pointed out to the prosecutor that the clothing was all for a larger girl than my client. The police also found women's shoes, but, like Cinderella, my client's feet were much smaller than the size of the women's shoes found at the apartment. I also provided the prosecutor with a U-Haul receipt from some time much earlier in the year to demonstrate that my client had rented the wall to pack up all of her belongings when she had broken up with the father of her child. Because of the weakness in the case, the prosecutor grudgingly agreed to dismiss the charges.