Tens of thousands of Ohio residents are charged with drug offenses each year, but not all of them are prosecuted. Narcotics cases are, sometimes, dropped because police officers or prosecutors realized that mistakes were made and the individual taken into custody was innocent. However, drug charges are more usually dismissed or dropped because investigators made some kind of procedural error or the prosecutors involved offered to reduce charges as part of a plea agreement.
Most criminal cases are resolved at the negotiating table
The U.S. Constitution gives criminal suspects the right to a trial before a jury of their peers, but most defendants choose to forgo a trial by entering into a plea agreement. Figures from the U.S. Department of Justice reveal that more than 90% of felony cases are settled in this way. When drug charges are involved, prosecutors will often agree to drop possession or distribution counts in return for guilty pleas to more serious crimes or information that could be used to prosecute narcotics suppliers or traffickers.
Not all police searches withstand judicial scrutiny
The most important evidence in drug cases is often discovered and seized during police searches. Judges may determine that this evidence should be excluded if the officers involved violated rights protected by the Fourth Amendment even if a search warrant was issued. Seized drugs may be deemed inadmissible if police officers conducted a warrantless search or obtained a search warrant based on insubstantial probable cause. Searches could also be ruled illegal if police officers search areas that were not listed on the search warrant.
Remaining silent and asking for a lawyer
Drug charges are unlikely to be dropped during plea negotiations or dismissed because of a procedural error if the suspect confessed or gave police permission to search their property. This is why experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely advise narcotics suspects to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement and refuse requests to conduct warrantless searches.