Federal drug crimes are prosecuted very harshly in Maryland. In cases like these, a criminal defense attorney is always going to conduct their own investigation to present a defense for their client that is as well-researched and well-structured as possible. In order to do this, they will verify the government’s own investigation to assure it is conducted correctly, share information with their client, and determine whether the evidence is even admissible in court. Because these types of crimes have such far-reaching consequences, especially at the federal level, it is highly important that someone facing these charges hire an experienced Maryland federal drug attorney as soon as possible.
Defense lawyers always conduct an investigation on their own. The first thing they do is verify that the government is correct in their investigation and that what they have gathered from their investigation is portrayed accurately in the reports and the discovery they provide.
If the government is not conducting an investigation correctly, it is important to highlight that information for them and for the court. This could be extremely advantageous in having charges against their client dismissed completely.
Additionally, by sharing the information with their client, the lawyers are able to conduct their own investigation and call for defense witnesses. A federal lawyer can develop a defense strategy and explain to the authorities why something they allege is illegal might not be illegal from the court’s perspective when they hear the other side of the story. A defense investigation is as important as the government’s investigation intending to prove the innocence of the lawyer’s client.
Some of the things that change the nature of a defense investigation in a federal drug case are the sentencing guidelines. When a case is in federal court, the federal judges rely heavily on sentencing guidelines in determining an appropriate sentence in a case. That may sound like the defense is presuming their client to be guilty, but, sometimes they can focus the defense’s investigation.
For example, if the amount of drugs involved in a particular government investigation is over a certain number that would affect the penalty, as opposed to if the drugs were under a certain number, then the defense attorney can use their investigation to focus on the amount of drugs in their client’s possession. They may be able to show that the amount the government determined was incorrect. That would be a huge assistance in preparing the defense for a particular case.
The guidelines are a good starting point for any attorney about how they focus the initial stages of their investigation. The direction of the investigation from that perspective is determined by the facts of any case.
The inequity in information available to defense lawyers can be very frustrating because the government has access to witnesses and a great deal of information that may get lost or tainted by the time the defense has the opportunity to evaluate it.
Because the government has the burden of proof in criminal cases, this is not considered an inequity in the eyes of the law. The government’s investigation is allowed to take place without the defense knowing about it. The defense does not have access to the witnesses immediately because the government brings the case and must prove the charges.
When the government charges the lawyer’s client, they are required to turn over all or most of the information they are using at trial. They are also required to release information they are not using at trial. If their investigation revealed both exculpatory and inculpatory evidence in the case the defense has an adequate opportunity to prepare only by having access to both.
If the inequities are exceedingly prejudicial to the defense and could have been avoided, the defense can make motions to the court to limit some of the government’s evidence from being used at trial because of its prejudicial nature, the way it was presented, or the way the defense had access to it was prejudicial to the defense in preparing. This can often be a basis for a case to be dismissed where certain evidence is not admissible in court.
The resources attorneys have are investigators who talk to witnesses and access documents to ensure that the court and jury are getting a complete picture of the case rather than the skewed version that the government presents, which is designed to show a particular person to be guilty of the offenses charged.