BATON ROUGE DRUG CRIMES LAWYER
Though steps have been taken in recent years to soften punishment for drug crimes, Louisiana generally takes a tough-on-crime approach toward prosecuting drug crimes. Instead of recognizing drug use as a legitimate illness requiring treatment, the main tool our state uses to address drug use is punishment.
Drug offenses are personal to me, as I have dealt with the affect of addiction in my own family. I firmly disagree with how the state takes a punitive stance toward addiction and therefor I take an aggressive stance in defense of drug cases. With the right defense, the consequences may be reduced or dismissed entirely.
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
The elements of this charge are pretty straight forward: a person is found with possession of a controlled substance. Note, there are two separate types of possession, actual and constructive.
This one is easy. This means that the person has direct physical control over a substance. For example, drugs found in one's pocket would constitute actual possession.
This means that though the person does not have direct physical control over the substance, the person may have knowledge of the existence of the substance and the location where it is stored with the ability to control it. For example, drugs found in the glove box of a one's car or in a drawer in their nightstand may constitute constructive possession.
POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE
This charge is the same as possession but with an added element. To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove not only that a person possess a controlled substance, but that they also had the intent to distribute it.
Ultimately, the issue in such a case is whether the state can actually prove a person's intent. Prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence to prove intent. Such evidence can include finding a large quantity of drugs, a weight scale, a large amount of cash, and individual baggies in a person's possession.
Drugs Belonged to Someone Else
If the prosecution cannot prove that the drugs belong to you, then you cannot be found guilty. Oftentimes, a person is just at the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, if you are in a car with other people and drugs are found in the car belonging to someone else and you are charged, a solid defense would be that the drugs are not yours.
Illegal Search and Seizure
If the drugs appear to be obtained unlawfully, then a motion to suppress should be filed. Any evidence found as a result of an illegal search will be thrown out and cannot be used against you. Most of the time, this results in the destruction of the prosecution's case.
Police have to follow certain rules when searching and seizing evidence. Searches must be supported by a search warrant backed by probable cause, or fall under a valid warrantless search exception. Traffic stops must be supported by reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing and cannot be extended longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop.
If the evidence appears to show that the police acted improperly, a motion to suppress can be the best defense.
Sometimes the police acted properly in obtaining the evidence and the evidence is otherwise strong. These are known as “bad facts” cases. There are still options to gain a favorable outcome, but it requires the defendant to get proactive. The attorney should instruct the accused to voluntarily get involved in some form of substance abuse treatment.
By showing the judge and prosecution that the client has taken responsibility and taken steps to address the underlying issue in efforts to better himself, your attorney can effectively advocate for you.
IF YOU ARE FACING DRUG CHARGES
Drug charges require dedicated legal representation. It is important to quickly retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is committed to aggressively defending your case. No matter the facts of your case or the strength of the evidence against you, I will fight hard for you to and do everything in my power to obtain the best possible outcome for you.