January 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Man wrongfully arrested for drug possession in TN seeks $1.5 million---
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Wrongful arrests may not be the norm, but when they do occur, they can have serious consequences for the accused, even when the charges are later dropped. A recent case in which a man was wrongfully arrested for drug possession in Tennessee based on flawed field test kit results highlights this issue and serves to remind people in Williamson County of their rights if they ever face a similar situation.
Field test kits give false positive
The man was arrested in Sullivan County in 2012 on his way to a gathering being held in Cherokee National Forest, according to the Kingsport Times-News. Some facts reported about his arrest were:
-Based on results from field testing kits, the arresting officers identified substances in the man's car as methamphetamine and liquid THC.
-The man was arrested for possessing what authorities believed to be $90,000 worth of the two narcotics.
-Nine substances were taken from the man's vehicle for testing, which ultimately revealed that none of the substances were narcotics.
-The man spent three weeks in jail because he was unable to obtain a bond.
In November of the same year, a grand jury cleared the man of all charges of wrongdoing. Now, to offset legal costs and the damage done by the charges, he is seeking $500,000 from Sullivan County authorities and more than $1 million from the makers of the field test kit that gave the false reading.
Even if such an outcome is rare, an incorrect identification from a drug testing kit used by Tennessee law enforcement authorities has troubling implications for anyone living in the state. The man's case highlights one of many issues that can come up in the course of drug-related arrests.
Drug crime arrests in Tennessee
Alarmingly, statistics indicate that many people in Tennessee may face unfounded arrests for possession of drugs or related crimes like distribution. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's report on crime statistics in 2012 reveals that 48,727 people were arrested for narcotic violations that year, while 40,832 people were cleared. In other words, more than 80 percent of drug-related arrests made in the state ended with the defendants being cleared.
These figures underscore the importance of legal counsel for anyone facing charges of drug possession. Various mistakes can be made during an arrest or the identification of a substance, and even if a person actually possesses illegal narcotics, charges may be fought for various reasons, such as the officer performing an illegal search and seizure.
Unfortunately, statistics suggest that a high number of people may face accusations of drug possession or related crimes this year in Tennessee. In fact, in 2012, the only categories of crime that more people were arrested for were destruction or vandalism, burglary and simple assault.
If you have been arrested and are facing charges of drug possession, make sure to speak with a skilled criminal attorney about your situation and your options for challenging the charges.
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