Swallowing the Evidence: How It May Affect Drug Crime Charges
You have seen it on TV or in a movie – someone swallows the key piece of evidence before the police arrive, and he gets off scot-free. Unfortunately, in real life, things rarely work out so smoothly. Swallowing the evidence can get you in more trouble than the drug crime charges you wanted to avoid.
It may seem like a good idea to quickly down the drugs just before the police open the door or walk up to your car. Chances are, however, they already have a reason to be talking to you, such as seeing you purchase drugs or noticing erratic driving. When the officer sees you shoving something in your mouth just as he arrives, he will immediately be more suspicious. If you then lie about swallowing the drugs, you have just make things worse.
Consequences for criminal defendants who try to swallow or otherwise hide evidence can include additional charges of evidence tampering or obstruction of justice. Evidence tampering is a crime when the prosecutor can show that you were intentionally doing something to the evidence to keep it from being used at trial against you or another person. Obstruction of justice is a crime when you keep police officer or prosecutors from doing their jobs by impeding the investigation or interfering with evidence collection.
Often prosecutors will slap on these charges when they learn that someone tried to swallow or destroy evidence of a drug crime. In addition, the defendant will face charges for the drug crime itself, whether that was mere possession or cross-border trafficking.
If you are facing obstruction of justice or evidence tampering charges related to your drug case, speak to a lawyer. Not only can your lawyer work to defend you against the drug charges, but he may discover evidence that exonerates you from the obstruction charges. For example, he may find video evidence that you merely swallowed food, or he may discover that police violated your rights during the evidence-gathering process.
Available defenses do depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. If the prosecutor has enough evidence to show that you did try to hide the drugs, he may be very reluctant to cut you a bargain. This may result in a longer sentence for you no matter the efforts of your lawyer. However, if the evidence is less strong, your lawyer may have an argument that the obstruction charge should be dismissed. Consider the risks before swallowing evidence, and talk to a lawyer today if you are facing criminal charges.
To learn more about typical sentences and plea bargaining in drug crime cases, seek out the DUI attorney who follows key changes in Oklahoma law to find the best defenses for his clients. Clint Patterson, Esq., of Patterson Law Firm, a former Tulsa prosecutor now using his trial experience to defend Oklahomans, has the experience and the insight to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. To schedule a case evaluation, visit Patterson Law Firm online or call Clint’s office at (918) 550-9175.