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Challenging testimony of a witness with something to gain crucial

If you have been charged with a drug crime or arrested for a drug-related offense, the authorities and prosecutors will be busy using whatever resources they have to build a case against you. They will likely seek phone records, search your home and question your loved ones in an effort to link you to violations of drug laws.

Another way they can build a case against you is to try and turn other people who have been charged with the same or similar offenses against you. They do this by offering lesser sentences or even immunity in exchange for testimony against you. The information provided by someone in this situation can prove to be a significant factor in the outcome of your case.

This is evidently one tactic being used against a 30-year-old law student who has been accused of conspiring to import and distribute synthetic drugs in South Florida.

The student was arrested after a chain of events prompted by law enforcement efforts. First, one of the so-called leaders of a drug ring, who has been sentenced to prison, agreed to work with federal law enforcement agents to target his partner. His efforts led to the partner getting arrested and pleading guilty to numerous serious offenses.

The partner agreed to go undercover for the police to identify several others allegedly involved in the distribution ring, including the law student. Now the law student is standing trial and one of the star witnesses for the prosecution is that same partner. In exchange for his testimony, he will receive a reduction in his prison sentence.

This is not unusual, and defense attorneys are typically prepared for this type of testimony. As is the case with any other witness, challenging that person's character or poking holes in the testimony can make it less condemnatory. 

Understanding police procedure and knowing how to approach the use of witnesses who have something to gain from testifying can be critical aspects of a defense against drug crime allegations. For these and many other reasons, it can be crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with drug crimes in Florida.

Source: Miami Herald, "Lone defendant in big Miami Molly case faces trial," Jay Weaver, Feb. 22, 2016

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