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Protecting personal rights when authorities claim to find heroin

It has happened to many people in Florida and other states as well. One minute, a person is relaxing with family or friends at home, the next, authorities are banging on the front door, saying they want to come and have a look around. In the blink of an eye, a nice evening at home leads to police accusing a homeowner of a heroin crime.

It is crucial to remember that law enforcement officers do not have free rein when it comes to questioning a suspect or entering a person's private residence. In fact, unless proper identification and a valid search warrant is shown, a person does not have to allow a police officer or federal agent inside his or her home. If a search warrant is shown, authorities have the right to enter and search the premises, but the person being investigated does not have to answer any questions beyond those pertaining to name and address.

Even before criminal charges are filed or an arrest made, a person may request defense assistance. Generally speaking, it is wise to ask to speak with an attorney to receive counsel as to how best to proceed to protect one's rights and avoid conviction if charges are filed at some point. An attorney also has a keen insight into the strict protocol and regulations by which authorities are bound when investigating alleged drug crimes.

If an officer tries to submit heroin evidence to the court, and an attorney determines the substance was seized through inappropriate measures that violate a defendant's rights, that evidence may be challenged as inadmissible. Not every drug trial leads to conviction. Successfully avoiding prison in Florida is usually closely linked to solid and aggressive defense representation in court.

Source: bcn.boulder.co.us, "If an Agent Knocks", Accessed on Dec. 12, 2016

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