Drug crimes include Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana, Delivery of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and other similar offenses. When a person is charged for these offenses, the possible consequences can be severe. A large percentage of the people serving time in our jails and prisons are there as the result of convictions from non-violent drug offenses.
Fortunately, there are very specific ways in which an experienced attorney can successfully defend a person accused of a drug crime. Most drug cases that result in a dismissal or Not Guilty verdict at trial are won because of one of two issues: 1.) a bad stop or search (or) 2.) an insufficient link between the accused and the drugs.
Bad Stop or Search
If evidence is obtained in violation of the Constitutional or statutory rights of the accused, that evidence will be not be admissible against the accused in trial. In a drug case, the evidence that the prosecution will generally seek to use against the accused is the drugs and the testimony of the officer(s) that found them. This evidence will not be allowed into court if the officers made certain mistakes. For example, if the drugs were found as a result of a traffic stop, then the drugs will not be allowed into evidence if the traffic stop was not valid or legal. Further, if the traffic stop was legal but the search that resulted in seizure of the drugs was not valid or legal, then the drugs will not be admissible as evidence in court. If the judge finds that the drugs are not admissible in court, then the case will almost always be dismissed. Police officers are people and make mistakes like everyone else. It is easy for an officer to overreach or make a mistake when conducting a traffic stop, drafting and executing a search warrant, or deciding when and how to conduct a search of a person, a car, or a home. For a person accused of a drug crime to have the best outcome possible, it is important to hire an attorney that knows and understands the Fourth Amendment and related search and seizure case law as well as police policy, procedure, and habits.
The Link to the Drugs
Even when police properly stop and/or search an accused, the prosecution is still going to have to prove that the accused person knowingly possessed the drugs. Specifically, the state will have to prove that the accused knew of the drugs and had care, custody, or control of those drugs. This is not hard for the state to prove if the drugs were found in the hand or pocket of the accused. However, many people are arrested on drug charges when the drugs were found away from their person. Drugs are often found in places where the accused may not have known they were there.
Places where drugs are often found:
- under the seat of a car
- glove compartment
- in a bag
- in a closet
- in a drawer
Wherever the drugs are found, the prosecution can not win in trial if they can not prove that the accused knew those drugs were there. This can be very difficult for them to do when the drugs were not found on the person of the accused. When an accused person finds themselves charged with possession of drugs that were not in their hand or in their pocket, it is particularly important that they find a lawyer who is experienced in trial and the defense of drug cases.
As an Assistant District Attorney in Bexar County for eight years, Christian Henricksen handled thousands of drug cases from the prosecution side. As a defense attorney, he has used his experience and knowledge to successfully defend many people accused of drug crimes. Contact us now for a free consultation.