First-time drug possession is often a misdemeanor charge, especially if the accused has no prior record and there is no evidence to suggest the person was part of a larger scheme to manufacture or distribute controlled substances. Unfortunately, some defendants do find themselves charged with “intent to distribute,” a far more serious charge than simple possession, even though they never had any such intentions.
What defines the line between possession and distribution? There are a number of factors in play. For instance, if the quantity of drugs recovered was particularly large–more than one person could reasonably consume for personal use–that alone can be enough to justify a distribution charge. Similarly, if the arresting officer finds a large amount of cash–even if it is not drug-related–that can lead to the assumption the suspect is engaged in some form of drug distribution.
This is one area where working with an experienced Galveston drug possession defense attorney can make an enormous difference. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to aggressively pursue distribution charges in what should be simple possession cases. A qualified lawyer can help you negotiate such inflated charges down to something more reasonable, if not get the case dismissed outright.
How Can You Fight a Drug Possession Charge?
Although drug possession cases are somewhat routine, there are still a number of areas where the police or the prosecution fail to do their jobs properly. When such mistakes occur, it can make the difference between having a criminal conviction on your record and obtaining a dismissal or acquittal. Some of the more common defenses we employ on behalf of clients include:
- Challenging unlawful searches and seizures – Normally, police cannot search your home or car for illegal drugs without first obtaining a warrant; any evidence recovered from an illegal search is inadmissible in court.
- Miranda violations – An officer must advise you of your right to remain silent and to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney before questioning you; failure to give such warnings can render any statements you make to the police inadmissible in court.
- Missing or incomplete evidence – Drug possession typically requires physical evidence in the form of, well, drugs; if that evidence goes missing before trial, or has not been properly tested to determine it was in fact an illegal drug, then the prosecution cannot sustain its burden of proof.
- Failure to establish possession – If illegal drugs are found near you but not on your person, the prosecution must prove you still had “constructive possession,” i.e. that you had actual knowledge that drugs were present and that you “exercised dominion and control” over their location. This can be difficult to show, especially if the drugs were found in a shared space such as a multi-tenant or multi-family home.
Of course, every drug possession case is unique and the available defenses will vary based on the known facts. This is why it is critical to hire a Galveston drug possession lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. If you need legal counsel, contact us today at (409) 515-6170 to schedule a free consultation.
Mark Diaz & Associates is a Criminal Defense Law Firm in Galveston, Texas representing clients throughout Galveston, Chambers and Harris Counties including but not limited to Tiki Island, Jamaica Beach, Texas City, League City, Alvin, Algoa, Santa Fe, Hitchcock, La Marque, Bayou Vista, Bacliff, San Leon, Dickinson, Kemah, Bolivar Peninsula, Clear Lake Shores, and Friendswood.