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Defenses in Manassas Drug Possession Cases

There are a number of constitutional issues that come up in Manassas drug possession cases. The most frequent one is the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Any time an individual is detained by the police, it is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. It has to be supported by probable cause. Any time individuals, their effects, their vehicles, or their homes are searched, the search is for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment and must be supported by probable cause. In many cases, a Manassas drug possession attorney can successfully challenge whether the police were acting on sufficient information when they detained the person, placed them under arrest, or made a search of any kind.

Building a Possession Charges Defense

There are a number of ways that lawyers build a defense in a possession case, and there are a number of factors to be considered. One of the largest factors to consider in a possession case is whether there have been any illegal searchers that led to the discovery of the alleged drugs, or whether there have been any illegal arrests or any illegal confessions that have been obtained. The first step is always to examine whether any of the evidence that the government plans to use can potentially be excluded because it was obtained in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights.

Examining the Evidence

Lawyers also look at whether the Commonwealth can meet its burden of proof by bringing forth evidence that will establish each of the elements of the crime the individual is accused of. This includes everything from whether there is a clean chain of custody of the alleged drug and whether there is a proper certificate of analysis which has been duly provided and filed with the court, to whether the elements of constructed possession can be made out and whether the individual even knew that they were in possession of drugs, knew what they were, and was treating them as though they were their own. Each case is different. The individual facts of that case are going to dictate what the best tactics are and what kind of defense should be employed to give the defendant the best possible chance of a good outcome.

Fifth Amendment Defense

Another important constitutional right that is frequently implicated in drug cases in Manassas is the Fifth Amendment right that individuals have against self-incrimination. The Constitution says that a person cannot be coerced into making a confession to the police, nor are any statements that they make when they are questioned following their arrest admissible unless a Miranda warning has been provided to them. In many cases, experienced counsel can keep statements or confessions made to the police out of evidence when there are defects of this kind in the process.

Defense Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistake to avoid in drug possession cases is consenting to a search of person, vehicle, or home. The Fourth Amendment provides that an individual is free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that a search can only happen when police have probable cause. However, many defendants unwittingly waive this right by consenting to a search by the police under circumstances where the police otherwise would not have the ability to conduct that search. It is always important when an individual is interacting with the police to make it clear that they do not consent to the searches. Another big mistake that people make in drug possession cases is making any statements to the police. Anything that an individual says to an officer they should anticipate will be repeated in court. In many circumstances, individuals will acknowledge that they know drugs are present on their person, in their vehicle, or in their home under circumstances where, without that admission, it would be very difficult for the government to prove that they knew they were there. Also, in constructed possession cases, it is critically important that the government be able to prove that kind of knowledge. When interacting with the police, it is very important for the individual to firmly assert that they are invoking their right to remain silent.

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