Drug possession charges can occur when someone is caught with just a small amount of marijuana, or they can be life felony crimes such as drug trafficking. Don’t be fooled by anyone’s “advice.” Any drug charge is serious and can prevent you from joining the military or getting a job. They should be handled by an experienced attorney.
An experienced criminal defense attorney, can “read between the lines” in many cases, and often find a defense to the charge. How? Almost all possession cases involve a search of some sort. Whether or not the police had the right to search you, your car, your house, or your backpack can give you a defense.
Obviously in order to find the drugs, a police officer needs to have made some kind of search, of your person, of your car, of your house, or of your backpack. Whether or not the search was legal becomes an issue in almost all drug cases, UNLESS, you gave consent to search or the officer sees it in plain view. For example, if you are walking down the street smoking a joint – clearly any police officer could see (or smell) that, and that would be considered plain view.
Consent to search is a little more tricky since the consent must be “voluntary.” For example, if some teenage kids are hanging out in the parking lot of a local fast food restaurant and six patrol cars drive up. All six officers get out of their cars and ask for consent to search one kids backpack, that kid will most likely give consent – even though he could say “no” – because he’s afraid of the police and their authority. Unless that kid has had multiple arrests or some other special knowledge, his consent would probably not be considered voluntary. (We had a case just like this out of Land O’ Lakes, Florida and it was thrown out.)
But, what if the police knock on your front door, or stop you on the street, or make a traffic stop? They need some kind of suspicion to search you. This gets very technical, and the facts of every case are different.