Why did the police arrest me for buying drugs instead of the dealer?

If the police arrest you for buying drugs and not the dealer, one of two things happened (unless the dealer simply managed to escape). Either, 1) the seller happened to be an informant for one of the arresting officers, or 2) the seller was actually an agent of the police. If you were just arrested and have yet to retain an attorney, do so immediately, or use the Free Case Evaluation link to submit your case to an attorney right here.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Unless the drug dealer simply managed to escape, probably one of two things happened. Either, 1) the seller happened to be an informant for one of the law enforcement arresting officers, and he or she prefers the dealer stay out of prison so that they can continue being useful as a confidential informant, or 2) the seller was actually an agent of the police. If the second of these two situations is true, then the drug buyer may have a way to avoid a conviction for the purchase of drugs in this case.

What is a confidential informant?

Everyone accused of a crime has the right to subpoena all witnesses to the crime to call in his defense. If the seller was a law enforcement agent, that means the police officers have asked them to sell drugs, and they, of course, will want to protect the drug dealer’s identity. This by itself is fine, as there’s nothing wrong with police using a confidential informant… In fact, it is done all the time. However, a “confidential” police agent who witnesses a crime loses his right to confidentiality – the right to subpoena a witness in your own defense is a constitutional right!

A qualified and experienced drug charges lawyer will want to bring a motion to discover who the seller was. If a judge agrees that they have to disclose his identity so the buyer’s district attorney or lawyer can interview and subpoena him, even if the person is a confidential informant. Depending on the type of drug and the amounts involved in the deal and the severity of criminal charges, the police may prefer to dismiss the charges rather than lose their confidential informant. Since this defense is based upon U.S. Constitutional protections, this strategy applies in all states. Still, the degree to which the courts honor this motion to discover the police agent may vary.

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How can you get help from a drug charges lawyer?

If you were just arrested and have yet to retain an attorney, do so immediately, or use the Free Case Evaluation link to submit your case to an attorney right here.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

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