Being arrested for possession of any controlled substance can be scary. Whether is a simple misdemeanor possession for marijuana or its a first degree felony for a penalty group one substance, it’s important to understand that drug offenses don’t have to ruin your record or your future.
There are programs available to resolve drug offenses without convictions in today’s court system, especially in Bexar County. But there are many other ways a drug case can be disposed of.
Most drug cases start with some kind of police stop. In order for a police officer to stop an individual, the officer must have reasonable suspicion an offense has been committed to make the stop. Most of the time, this involves a traffic offense. Traffic offenses are permissible stops, but only for the traffic offense itself. In order for an officer to conduct a search or any further investigation not directly related to the traffic offense, the officer must have some additional suspicion of another offense.
However, consent is an easy way for police officers to get around reasonable suspicion. If a police officer asks and you give consent to search, the officer then can charge you with whatever he finds. Allowing a police officer to search takes away any questions of reasonable suspicion and makes their job much easier. And a defense attorney’s job much harder.
If an officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop an individual or additional evidence to extend a stop past its original purpose and there is no consent, that could be one way to get a case dismissed. Sometimes a prosecutor will agree and outright dismiss the case, but often, a case may be pushed to a motion to suppress where a judge may agree that the officer’s conduct was not legal and suppress the evidence, which almost always leads to a dismissal.
An individual must be at least knowingly in possession of an illegal substance. If someone doesn’t know that the substance they possess is an illegal substance or if they don’t know they are in possession of it, knowledge can be another area where the state’s case can fall apart. This area is typically difficult to prove, though. Most people are presumed to know what is on their person or in their vehicle and it’s a difficult presumption to overcome. But in certain cases, this may be a key area.
A person is presumed to have possession if an item is in their care, custody or control. This is how people can be charged for items found in the trunk of a car they are driving. However, if the item is not as clearly in the care, custody or control of an individual, this could be an area to attack.
There are many other ways drug offenses can be resolved or attacked and a knowledgeable attorney in drug offenses and search and seizure law can be the critical difference between a clean record and a conviction. Contact us today for a free consultation.