Defense Strategies in DC Drug Possession Cases

Defending drug possession charges can oftentimes be incredibly difficult without the experience of a knowledgeable drug possession attorney. A lawyer can provide a strong defense against a drug possession case and can help to ensure that any penalties against you are either reduced or dismissed.

Strategies for Defense

In a lot of drug possession cases, the police do not find the drug on the individual’s body. For example, this occurs if an individual is driving a car, or they are a passenger in a car, and the police stop the car and find drugs. Since the officers do not actually find the drugs on the individual, meaning that person is not in personal possession of the drugs, the officers will need to operate under what is called a constructive possession theory. DC Drug Possession Charges That means that the individual did not actually have the drugs on them, but they had the intent to control and possess those drugs because of where they were, and because of the circumstances.

One of the common defense strategies is to argue that the individual did not have the intent to control the drugs found nearby them. As an example, if an individual is a passenger in someone’s car, and the cops pull the driver over and there is a bag of cocaine found by the passenger seat, the passenger is the one that gets arrested as a result. The prosecutors need to be able to prove that this passenger actually had the intent to control this bag of cocaine that was by their seat, even if they were completely unaware. If an individual were to get into a car and see the cocaine there, but they did not say anything about it, the individual can not be presumed to be in possession of those drugs.

Challenges in Defending a Case

A lot of times, these cases come up in driving situations. Cars are one of the most frequent kinds of cases to see, because the police can pull an individual over for any number of traffic violations. It is a bit easier to do that than to come up to a person on the street and begin searching them. When an individual is driving a car it is very different, because that individual is on a public roadway. If an individual gets stopped for any traffic violations, the police can search the car as long as they have some reasonable suspicion that there is contraband in the car.
Challenging searches can be very important in these cases. As an example, if an individual gets pulled over for speeding, the cops can not search the car, because they can not expect to find any evidence that the individual is speeding by searching the car. Being able to figure out whether or not there is probable cause to have searched a car is a major challenge, but it is also very important for a lawyer to look for. A violation of Fourth Amendment rights may come into play when dealing with these cases.

One problem in those situations is when people give consent for the police to search the car. When an individual gives consent for a cop to search their car, all is fair game. At that point, it does not matter if the officers had probably cause to search the car because the driver consented. This is a major hurdle that comes up for a lot of people. At that point, the ability to challenge the search is much more difficult.

Common Mistakes

Consent to search is the biggest mistake that individuals make. This does not apply only to cars, but also if an individual is walking down the street, or is in their home. Anywhere an individual is, consent is considered an exception to the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure. For the most part, when an individual gives the police consent to search their home, their person, or anything else, it is fair game.

Another issue that comes up is people who make statements without a lawyer present. It is difficult to figure out whether or not to say something, so the best thing to do is to not say anything at all. A lot of people either forget to do that, or it does not occur to them at the time. The cops are going to ask very specifically, “Can I search your car?” For that, an individual has to be specific in saying, “No, you cannot search my car.” But for any other questions, it does not matter if the individual has been read their Miranda rights at that point or not, because sometimes the cops are allowed to ask questions without reading the Miranda rights. They only have to read an individual their Miranda rights once they have been placed in custody. At any point, an officer can ask an individual questions, and those answers are admissible as evidence. It is important for an individual to be incredibly careful with what they say at this point.