Drug Cases

If you are charged with a narcotics case your lawyer should carefully examine the constitutional issues involved in your case. Many narcotics cases involve complex search and seizure issues which may implicate either or both State and Federal Law. It is also important that you understand the legal definition of possession under Texas Law if you are charged with possession of narcotics (or other contraband for that matter).

Most people ordinarily think of possession as those things you have on your immediate person. However, possession under Texas Law is defined much broader than those things in your immediate possession. Under Texas Law possession means to exercise care, custody, control or management over a thing. The law also requires that you knowingly and intentionally possess (exercise care, custody, control, or management) over the thing that you are accused of possessing. The State is required to prove these things beyond a reasonable doubt if you plead not guilty and elect to have a trial.

Some police officers fail to understand this rather simple concept of possession and will charge everybody in the immediate vicinity of the illegal contraband. For instance, if marijuana is found in a vehicle you are riding in, the police are likely to arrest and charge both the driver and any passengers of the vehicle for possession of marijuana.

Although more than one person can possess the same thing (this is called joint possession) merely being present in the same vehicle where the marijuana was found does not make you guilty of possession of marijuana. If you remember the principals of law discussed above this makes sense. If you are either the driver or passenger of a vehicle, is it fair that your are charged with possession of marijuana just because a friend or acquaintance of yours decided to bring marijuana along and you did nothing to exercise care custody, control, or management over the marijuana? Of course that would not be fair, and while a police officer may fail to recognize this, the law is on your side.

In another example I once had a case where a husband and wife were both charged with possession of marijuana after a police officer responded to an alarm that was activated in their home while they were at work. The police officer went in the home through an unlocked back door. While no burglary had taken place in the home the police officer found marijuana inside the home and charged both husband and wife with possession of marijuana. The wife was found not guilty at trial and the case against the husband was dismissed.

In that case, the State could only prove that marijuana was found in a home and that the husband and wife were the registered owners. The police officer under my cross examination had to admit he could not say whether they had children that lived in the home, whether anybody else lived in the home, or whether someone such as a friend or relative had left the marijuana in the home without the husband and wife's knowledge.

If you have a drug charge let my vast experience as a former Dallas County Drug Court Prosecutor work for you.

Comments are closed.