How can I be charged with drug delivery if the police do not have the drugs and thereby could not test them?
What if the Police do not Have the Drugs?
In a typical felony drug delivery case, the target of the police investigation delivers a drug, such as marijuana or cocaine, to a confidential informant or undercover police officer. The drug is then sent to a police forensic laboratory for testing and confirmation that the drug is a controlled substance. Some people believe that a charge of delivery cannot be filed or prosecuted by the district attorney if the police do not have a drug to forensically test. A person can be prosecuted based on testimony from a confidential informant.
In a Pennsylvania Superior Court case that was issued in 1958, a police informant was able to testify for the district attorney that the informant had purchased a substance that the informant knew was heroin. Since the informant had purchased and used the heroin more than a year before the trial, the prosecution was unable to forensically test the substance. The informant was a known heroin user, and the informant testified that based upon his knowledge and experience in using heroin, the substance that he had purchased and used looked like heroin and gave the informant a euphoric feeling that was similar to heroin. Basically, the heroin addict was permitted to testify that the substance that he had purchased from the defendant looked and felt like heroin and thereby must have been heroin. The drug delivery defendant was convicted of felony drug delivery at trial, and, on appeal, the Superior Court upheld the verdict and stated that the trial court did not err in allowing the informant to testify that the substance was heroin. This case clearly shows that a prosecution can be based upon circumstantial evidence of drug delivery based solely upon the testimony of a cooperating witness.
Admittedly, the case discussed above is unique and does not constitute a strong case for the district attorney. A case that is based solely on the credibility of a confidential informant that is a known drug addict is a weak case. In such a scenario, you need the services of a skilled drug attorney. Centre County drug defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has experience in representing people charged with drug delivery and drug possession charges at all phases of the case, from pre-charge, pretrial, trial, appeal, and post-conviction proceedings.