The case of a disgraced former Houston police officer brings to the forefront the issue of misconduct among law enforcement. Former narcotics officer Gerald Goines – who retired from the force amidst accusations of years of misconduct in drug cases – faces charges of murder and civil rights violations stemming from a shootout in a botched drug raid from January 2019.
Goines’s alleged misconduct, which included planting evidence and lying, likely lasted for decades, forcing authorities to revisit several cases in which he worked. Anyone caught in the net from Goines’s investigations has paid dearly, but this case continues to get scrutiny.
Violations during arrests can occur
We all know that that a drug charge can upend your life. Your family, career and livelihood could be affected, leading to turmoil. Drug charges are serious and can lead to consequences such as incarceration, probation, steep fines, restitution and court-ordered rehabilitation. However, the reduction and dismissal of charges are possible, depending on the circumstances.
Prosecutors need an airtight case and must conduct every aspect of the arrest and investigation conducted properly. The integrity of a case is crucial, and if the investigation is tainted in some way allegedly like many of the Goines-related cases, the accused could see charges dismissed.
In drug-related cases, some questions to consider include:
- Did arresting officers obey the law?
- Did a reasonable search and seizure take place?
- Did officers plant the drugs on the accused?
- Did the contraband belong to another person?
- How many drugs were seized?
- Does the arrest represent a first-time offense or multiple offenses?
People charged with drug-related crimes run the gamut. They may include high school and college students, hard-working mothers and fathers, executives and even seniors. Every drug case is unique.
If you find yourself facing drug charges, turn to an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal guidance. Serving as your own attorney is not a good step. A skilled attorney knows the legal system and likely has had previous working relationships with prosecutors and judges. Remember that.