South Carolina severely penalizes drug crimes. A drug crime conviction can come with hefty fines and days or even years of imprisonment, depending on the type and amount of the controlled substance. The convicted party could lose their professional license and driving privileges. On top of that, they might also have to forfeit their rights to vote, own firearms and serve on a jury. Imagine if the convicted individual was not guilty.
A wrongful conviction is when the convicted party did not actually commit the crime. It can also be a violation of the convicted party’s rights induced by procedural errors. People should be aware that wrongful convictions do happen, and they can happen to anyone, even to those who are innocent.
Why do wrongful convictions happen?
The National Registry of Exonerations recorded 233 exonerations that occurred in the year 2022. From that statistic, 100 were wrongful convictions for drug crimes. The problem is that convicted parties do not always have the opportunity for exoneration. They serve the rest of their sentence even if they are innocent. A wrongful conviction can happen due to the following reasons:
- Eyewitnesses identified the wrong individual
- Witnesses commit perjury for a benefit or because of coercion
- False or misleading forensic evidence
- Police and prosecutorial misconduct
- False confessions due to duress
A person under arrest or investigation might have impaired judgment because of fear, stress or anxiety. Their words and actions could appear suspicious, and anyone could misconstrue their behavior. Sometimes, the prosecution just wants to obtain a conviction quickly and by any means necessary. It is so important to seek legal advice from an experienced professional who understands the justice system and the letter of the law.
Avoiding a wrongful conviction
If you face drug charges, you do not have to say anything without a lawyer present. Your best chance at an acquittal is a strong legal defense team. You have the right to defend yourself. Use that right wisely.