If you have been charged with drug possession, whether it was intended to sell or for personal use, you are likely looking at serious repercussions if convicted. Our Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyers have handled a number of drug crime cases where the charges have been dismissed because the evidence was obtained illegally or due to procedural errors.
Here are some of the common defenses employed in drug cases involving bad evidence:
Unlawful search and seizure: Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we are all granted due process rights, including lawful search and seizure procedures during criminal investigations. Issues involving illegal search and seizure are quite common in drug crime cases. Under the law, illegal drugs or controlled substances that are found in plain view such as on a car seat may be seized and used as evidence in a drug case, provided it was during a legal traffic stop.
However, drugs that are found in the trunk of a car without the individual’s permission would be illegally seized and cannot be entered into evidence. Similarly, when searching a suspect’s home, officials should obtain a search warrant from the appropriate court. Drugs that are obtained through a search done without a warrant or without probable cause will be deemed as inadmissible evidence in a court of law. If the defendant’s due process right were violated, the drugs are not admissible in court as evidence and are usually dismissed.
Ownership of the drugs: If the drugs did not belong to you or if you had no idea why you had them in your possession, then a skilled drug crime defense lawyer can argue that the drugs were not yours. For example, if you share an apartment with roommates and the drugs were found in a common area, police need more evidence to prove that the drugs actually belonged to you and not your roommates.
Confirmation of drugs: Drugs obtained through search and seizure must be tested in a laboratory in order to confirm that they are actually controlled substances that are prohibited under the law. The prosecution must typically prove that the substance is in fact the illicit drug they claim it is. Typically, a crime lab analyst must testify in court regarding the lab analysis.
Planted drugs: There have been cases in Los Angeles where police officers themselves plant drugs in order to make an arrest. While this can be extremely difficult to prove because other officers may be reluctant to testify against one of their own, any evidence that is planted is clearly bad evidence and should not be admissible in a court of law.
IF YOU’VE BEEN ARRESTED
If you or a loved one has been arrested on drug possession charges, you may have several legal defenses available. If evidence was collected illegally in your case, an experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyer will be able to expose that and get your charges dismissed. Do not talk to the authorities or provide any statements that could later be used against you. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney specializing in drug lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and keep you out of jail.