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Individuals convicted of drug crimes exonerated after lab tests

There are many law enforcement agencies throughout Texas that devote a considerable amount of effort toward policing drug crimes. Officers may be very aggressive when conducting traffic stops, searching vehicles if they suspect that drugs are present. Some officers might be specially-trained in these kinds of investigations, and are constantly pursuing information that will lead to a high-profile arrest.

Recently, there has been an issue with some of the individuals convicted of drug crimes in Texas. So far, 21 individuals have had their drug crimes convictions overturned, and this number may continue to grow. Many of the offenders were convicted of drug possession charges, and were sentenced to time in jail. They were believed to be carrying illegal substances when searched by police, and this evidence was used by prosecutors to pursue plea deals from certain offenders.

Some of these individuals had prior drug convictions, and the deals being offered would result in lower sentences than those that could be handed down if they went to trial. They believed they had no choice but to plead guilty.

Evidence was sent to crime labs to be tested, but the results were not available at the time the deals were made due to long back-ups at the facilities. Once an offender pleads guilty, those tests move to the back of the line, as the labs give priority to cases going to trial. When the samples were finally tested, they showed that the substances were not illegal drugs. Houston had a large number of these cases, with 13 of the 21 cases uncovered so far originating in the city.

Those convicted of these crimes have been exonerated. It is suspected that there are several more examples of individuals serving time for drug offenses even though they actually did not possess controlled substances. Officials have pledged more resources to these labs, but the increase in DWI blood-analysis matters might still result in substantial delays.

If you have been charged with a drug offense, you are facing very serious accusations. Law enforcement may pressure you into making statements that could be used against you.

It is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you have been arrested to begin protecting your rights at such a crucial time. Your attorney will be able to analyze the evidence that has been collected, and make sure that police have acted appropriately throughout the proceedings.

You may receive offers from prosecutors to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. You need to be aware of the consequences that may result if you agree to these kinds of deals. Any subsequent offenses will drastically increase the potential penalties in that you could receive, including a much longer jail or prison sentence.