Conviction of a drug offense can have a devastating impact on your life. For example, most people are unaware that the DMV will suspend your driver license for a period of two years if you are convicted of any type of possession of drugs. Additionally, depending upon the charge, you may face a mandatory minimum prison sentence, probation, fines, drug counseling, random testing of drugs or alcohol, and community service.
I represent clients charged with any type of drug–related offense, including:
- Possession of Cannabis
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute
- Drug Trafficking
- Prescription Drug Fraud
Contact me if you have been arrested for a drug offense. Depending on the specific facts of your case, there may be numerous procedural and substantive defenses available to get the charges reduced or even dropped, including:
Motion to Suppress the evidence
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all individuals against unreasonable search and seizures. Police officers often violate these principals when conducting investigations. I will carefully review the facts and circumstances of your case and attempt to have the evidence excluded, regardless of whether the search was of your person, vehicle, or home. Evidence obtained during the execution of a search warrant or during an arrest may also be challenged and possibly suppressed.
Challenging the legal elements of the crime
The word "possession" has a particular meaning under the law. Possession of a drug does not require ownership. Possession of a drug is not necessarily exclusive to only one person (in other words, two people can "possess" the same item at the same time). Essentially, possession means to exercise control over something. Possession can be actual or constructive.
"Actual possession" means to be in direct physical contract with the substance, such as holding drug paraphernalia in your hand, having cocaine in your pocket, or carrying marijuana in a purse on your shoulder.
"Constructive possession" means that you are not actually in physical contact with the substance, and must be proven by showing that the defendant:
- Knew of the presence of the drugs;
- Knew of the illicit nature of the drugs; and
- Had dominion or control over the drugs.
Knowledge of the presence of the drug can be inferred from circumstantial evidence, including possession or ownership of the premises or vehicle where the item was found. However, if more than one person jointly occupies the premises or vehicle where the drugs are found, then the knowledge of the accused will not be inferred from his possession of the premises or vehicle, but rather must be established by independent proof.
Independent proof can include:
- Statements of the defendant that he knew about the presence of the drugs; or
- The fact that the drugs were in plain view.
Credibility of Confidential Informants (CI) and Undercover Officers
Drug cases often revolve around the credibility of confidential informants who are working with undercover detectives to set up other individuals to commit drug crimes. Confidential informants are used routinely for sale and delivery of cocaine cases, and for serious drug trafficking cases in the Brevard County area. The key to winning these cases is uncovering mistakes made by law enforcement, inconsistencies in the testimony of various witnesses, and the physical evidence such as audiotaped or videotaped statements. In many cases, confidential informants are desperate to set up another individual in order to lessen their own punishment for their own criminal misconduct. Conducting an exhaustive investigation to exploit this desperation is an important part of winning a drug case. Additionally, an entrapment defense may be available in any case in which a confidential informant or undercover officer encouraged the defendant to commit the crime charged.
The confidential informant, usually an individual that already has a long criminal history or pending charges, has an incredible motive to lie, plant evidence, and make false accusations. In certain cases, the confidential informant (CI) will set up other individuals in exchange for cash payments from law enforcement or the FBI. These financial incentives can also call the confidential informant's credibility into question.
The detectives, special agents, or law enforcement officers working with the confidential informants may also be engaged in questionable activities, take shortcuts that violate the law, or otherwise cause their credibility to be questioned. In some cases, those shortcuts taken by law enforcement can cause the entire case to be dismissed. An experienced criminal defense attorney can find and exploit reasonable doubts that may exist in your case because of credibility issues with the confidential informant, detectives, agents or undercover officers.
If you have been charged with a drug offense, regardless of whether the crime allegedly occurred in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, West Melbourne, Melbourne Village, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Palm Shores, Grant-Valkaria, Mims, or anywhere else in Brevard County, contact me to discuss your case. I will explore every available procedural and substantive defense in an attempt to achieve the best possible resolution to your case.