In previous articles I’ve talked about various Tennessee drug laws, their punishments, and how to keep a conviction off your record. In this article I’m going to discuss how to challenge your drug case, along with some specific questions that you and your lawyer should address. By challenging your drug case, I mean not pleading as charged. This may mean taking the case to trial, moving to suppress the evidence, or trying to get the charge reduced. An experienced Tennessee criminal defense lawyer will be needed for this. One of the first issues that needs to be addressed in any drug case is: Were the drugs yours, and were you aware of their presence? You often see this in cases where several individuals were in a car, the police find drugs either on one of the passengers or in some area of the car, and everyone is arrested. If you were one of those passengers and were not in possession of the drugs, you may want to maintain your innocence and not plead as charged. However, possession in Tennessee can be defined very broadly, and if you were in the car with these individuals you probably were aware that there were drugs, so the state could use that against you. Another issue that needs to be addressed is whether the police had probable cause to search for drugs. This is crucial to any drug case, and without probable cause the search will be ruled unreasonable and the evidence suppressed. Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, citizens are free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you feel you have been the subject of a such a search, contact a Tennessee drug offense lawyer for a thorough review of the case. Most drug cases begin with a warrantless search, and while these types of search are generally considered unreasonable by the courts, there are many exceptions. One exception is where the citizen gives consent to the search. You often see these types of searches in vehicle stops. The police suspect that the driver and/or passengers are transporting drugs, so they stop the car for a minor traffic violation and proceed to gain the driver’s consent to search the car. However, these cases are not cut and dry and they often turn on very subtle sets of facts. The consent must be unequivocal, specific, intelligently given, and uncontaminated by duress or coercion. In determining whether the consent was valid, courts are going to look at the totality of the surrounding circumstances. That is, it will take all the facts into consideration. If the consent is not valid and/or the police lack probable cause, the evidence will be suppressed. The decision of whether to fight your drug charge is not an easy one to make, and must be carefully considered. You may be able to get a better result by attempting to have the charge reduced. If you’re a first-time offender you may be able to permanently remove the charge from your record this way. You should realize, though, that you may not get the offer you want from the state, and it may require fighting the charge and trying to get the evidence thrown out. Whatever your situation, contact Memphis drug possession lawyer Patrick Stegall to discuss the case. With his state and federal criminal defense experience, Mr. Stegall can advise you of the best options and then work toward making them happen. Please call him at (901) 205-9894 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CategoryFiled under: Drug Crimes