People always assume that if there is a positive test result they are automatically guilty. This is not always true. I have found many different issues when it comes to drug tests that can call the tests into question, such as finding out the analyst didn’t follow protocols, or they didn’t calibrate their machines, many issues like that. In some cases, an analyst has been fired and is no longer available; one analyst even wrote a question mark next to her identification on the lab data I reviewed.
What Else Should I Know About Drug Charges in Pennsylvania?
Well, some counties have special drug courts and some don’t. Also, there are often alternatives to jail, especially when it comes to misdemeanor charges; we’ve sometimes been able to get our clients who were charged with felonies into a first-time offender’s program.
Drug charges are serious offenses and all options must be explored, especially challenging the drug test results.
Can Someone Be Charged with a Federal Offense in a Drug Related Case?
That depends on whether the federal government wants to take over the charges; most drugs are subject to federal jurisdiction, so almost all drug crimes can be federal drug crimes. Among the factors that will determine whether a drug case becomes federal are if guns are involved, people with long criminal records are implicated, as well as the types and quantities of drugs. Some counties charge federally more often than others, but all felony drug cases can become federal drug cases.
How Do You Employ Your Scientific Background to Defend Drug Related Cases?
I have been handling drug charges in federal and state courts for 15 years. I have advanced training in several related chemistry fields that give me the ability to challenge the test results. When my firm is litigating a case, we very rarely stipulate to the drug test results because we often find problems with the test results. I’m only one of less than 30 Certified Lawyer-Scientists through the American Chemical Society in the entire country.
I’ve had hands-on lab training where I’ve actually tested drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin using the same techniques the government uses. In many cases, your only defense is whether or not the substance is illegal.
For example when a person gets pulled over in a car with white powder and they’re calling it cocaine and it happens to be their car and they are the only occupant in the car that is a clear case of possession of the white powder. The issue becomes is whether or not it is cocaine. That is what differentiates our firm from almost all other firms because we know how to and do challenge the test results.
How Do You Defend Clients In Cases Involving Illegal Search And Seizures?
This is a typical drug case. The police seize a substance and give it to the lab for testing. The police officer is given a single piece a single piece of paper that says Item 1.1 is Heroin. Well I get the other 200 to 300 pieces of paper that are generated from that test and look at what they did, how they did it to see if there are flaws or problems, or if they failed to follow their own protocols because I obtain their manuals as well.
What Kind of Scientific Training Do Law Enforcement Personnel have With Respect to Drugs?
They have no training; they don’t test anything, lab people do. However lab personnel have only basic training. They are more technicians than experts. In fact they are more like assembly line workers. They just follow a process. Sometimes, they’re not qualified at all.
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