In many jurisdictions across the country, the “war on drugs” has resulted in serious penalties being placed on criminal defendants caught in its wake. While these lawmakers might have meant well, many law-abiding citizens have been caught in the undertow. If you’re being charged with a drug crime in the state of Texas, one thing should be immediately clear to you: you need an effective criminal defense going forward. An experienced drug defense attorney will ask a number of questions in order to provide a suitable defense for your current legal situation.
Likely Concerns of a Drug Lawyer
First of all, a competent defense attorney is going to ask if it was legal for the police to seize the alleged illicit substance in the first place. The average defendant is literally shocked to learn just how many seizures are subject to motions to suppress simply because they were done without a warrant or on the word of an informant.
Our constitution projects us all from such illegal searches and seizures. (See 4th Amendment)
Creating Reasonable Doubt
Even if the State of Texas can prove that the drugs were lawfully seized, there are other hurdles they’ll need to clear. There are a few more questions we can ask to raise reasonable doubt to a jury. First, can we prove that the drugs were actually possessed by the defendant? Second, can the prosecution establish that the defendant had the intent to distribute the drugs? And finally, if they can establish these two things, is there any type of situation where the damage of a “mandatory minimum” can be mitigated?
The next area that is extremely important would be that of probable cause. Although the threshold for probable cause can create some rather “airtight” cases, an experienced defense attorney will be able to use the idea of “probable cause” to their client’s benefit. For example, just because a search warrant claims that there is ample evidence for a defendant dealing drugs from his dwelling or place of business does not necessarily mean police have the right to search the defendant’s car.
Traffic stops are another area where criminal defense attorneys can be crucial in advising their clients. Remember, just because a police officer tells you to step out of your vehicle, it does not mean that they have the right to search your vehicle. There are an immense amount of people who admit they are carrying drugs, weapons, or other types of contraband simply because they are asked to exit their vehicle. This is unfortunate and has led to many needless convictions.
Finally, if you don’t get anything else from this article it is important to know all of your rights when it comes to police investigations. If you have gotten the attention of a police investigation, contact a lawyer immediately. They will be able to tell you how you should conduct yourself throughout the process. Generally, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the better your chances of having a favorable outcome to your case.