Scene of a DC Drug Arrest

People who are merely present at a crime are not necessarily committing a crime, and this includes the scene of a DC drug arrest. Merely being around the person committing a crime or being near drugs is not necessarily enough to be convicted of being in possession of those drugs or involved in distribution. However, when police are conducting an investigation and making a decision about who to arrest, the standard of proof and the standard of evidence they apply at that stage is not the same as what a prosecutor would need to prove to convict a person at trial. For more information concerning the scene of a drug arrest in DC, contact an experienced lawyer.

Burden of Proof

The standard of proof to convict someone at trial is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That means that prosecutors would need to prove a crime to a high degree of confidence if they are seeking a conviction at a trial. In order to simply make a drug arrest, the standard of proof is probable cause. Probable cause is a much lower level of evidence. Police do not necessarily go by the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt when deciding whether to arrest the person. In some situations, police may have no idea who is in possession of drugs.

Traffic Stop

If the police conduct a traffic stop, and as a result of that traffic stop, find drugs in a car and there are multiple people in the car, the police may believe that gives them probable cause to arrest everyone in the car. Just because the police believes there is enough evidence to arrest a person, it does not mean they have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual actually committed a crime. Sometimes police are able to use their discretion and decide that a person who is merely at the scene of a DC drug arrest was not necessarily committing a crime.

Probable Cause

The police have a fairly broad discretion to make probable cause determinations, but they are not able to make an arrest based purely on a hunch or a vague suspicion of wrongdoing. Probable cause does not need to be based on some kind of tangible evidence that a person committed a crime. Even if police believe that they have probable cause to make an arrest, the prosecutor still has the option of not charging a person since the U.S. Attorney’s Office has the discretion as far as which cases to charge and which cases not to charge.

If the U.S. Attorney’s Office decides to charge a person who has been arrested, the defense attorney still has the ability to challenge the probable cause determination and argue there is not enough evidence to move forward on certain types of cases.

Drug Arrest Investigation

At the scene of an investigation, there are a number of factors that police consider when deciding whether to make an arrest or not make an arrest. Anyone at the scene of an investigation should know that a person does have the right to refuse to answer the officer’s questions and they have the absolute right not to consent to searches. However, if they are a possible suspect, it is possible that they might end up being arrested and face charges for merely being near an alleged crime.

It is important to remember that a person should not try to negotiate with the police for their release and not try to argue or interfere with the police investigation. The police are going to conduct their investigation how they want to and it is vital for the individual to stand by and not answers questions. The person can let their attorney challenge the police in court, not at the scene of a DC drug arrest.