When police make multiple arrests, it can sometimes be difficult to determine each person’s level of involvement in the alleged crime. Officers, perhaps choosing to cast a wide net, may arrest those who were uninvolved in the misdeeds and simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a natural tendency to tar everyone involved in a crime with the same brush – it is the defense attorney’s role to work against this idea and present mitigating factors to the court.
A large group of arrests was recently conducted in Bozeman, when nine MSU students were arrested on a variety of charges relating to drug distribution. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the nine students were taken to Gallatin County Jail, eight with $75,000 warrants and one on a $20,000 warrant. The charges against them are serious: authorities accuse the students of distributing LSD, marijuana and hash out of MSU dorm rooms and off-campus housing.
A confidential informant reportedly tipped police off that he was going to purchase hash from one of the students, and that the student’s roommate was due to receive a quantity of LSD in the mail. Police checked the student’s mail and discovered around 500 doses of LSD.
When confronted by police, the student stated that he was poor and needed to sell the drugs to earn an income. The other students were also arrested on the advice of a confidential informant.
Now the court must unravel the case as it pertains to each of these nine people on an individual basis – how deeply were they involved? Is the confidential informant credible? Will he or she testify against the accused parties? And, most importantly, what evidence does the state have to support its claims? These facts will undoubtedly become clear in the coming months.
Drug charges can lead to years of imprisonment, to say nothing of the criminal fines and the loss of career and educational opportunities. It is important, therefore, to build an effective defense against them.
The law firm of Tipp & Buley provides criminal defense services to clients across Western Montana. To schedule a confidential, one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact our firm online or call 406-389-4215.
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