Most people in Iowa know that there is a world of difference between being charged with simple possession of illegal drugs and being charged with drug trafficking. A drug possession charge can often result in a negotiated plea agreement with the defendant receiving probation or being steered into a drug diversion program. A trafficking charge, on the other hand, can result in years in prison if the defendant is convicted.
State and federal prosecutors in Iowa often show little mercy to those accused of drug distribution and trafficking. For that reason, it is critical that anyone facing these serious charges have a well-planned and aggressive defense strategy. Fortunately, there are usually a number of viable defenses that can be raised in a drug trafficking case.
As in any criminal case, the prosecution in a drug trafficking case has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not have to prove his or her innocence; he or she only needs to create reasonable doubt as to guilt in the eyes of the jury. Questioning the credibility of prosecution witnesses, who are often paid informants with their own agendas, is one example of a strategy that can cast serious doubt on the prosecution's accusations. Other strategies include casting doubt on the prosecution's lab test results; questioning the evidentiary chain of custody; challenging the legality of a search, and arguing entrapment in cases involving alleged sales to undercover officers.
At the eastern Iowa law firm of J. Dean Keegan, Eric D. Tindal & Andrea Mason Attorneys At Law, we understand what is at stake for those accused of trafficking in illegal drugs. We understand the importance of challenging every aspect of the prosecution's case, and we fight passionately for our clients' freedom.