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Building a McLean Drug Possession Defense

Drug possession offenses are taken seriously given the drug epidemic that has impacted areas in Northern Virginia.

A conviction for a drug possession charge can result in severe penalties and long-term ramifications, which can impact an individual’s personal and professional life. Therefore, it is crucial for defendants to work with a seasoned drug possession lawyer. A dedicated attorney could help you with building a McLean drug possession defense.

Constitutional Issues in Drug Possession Cases

In drug possession cases, it is possible for an individual’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to be violated. Fourth Amendment issues typically involve law enforcement officers searching a person’s home for drugs without their consent, without a search warrant, or outside of the scope of a search warrant. Problems concerning Constitutional rights also include unlawful stops of drivers where officers do not have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” for the stop. Some examples Fifth Amendment issues in drug cases typically involve a person admitting ownership of certain drugs after being placed in police custody, but before the said person was read their Miranda Rights.

When building a McLean drug possession defense, an experienced lawyer will look into the facts of the case to determine if the defendant’s Constitutional Rights were violated. If so, the case can be dismissed or certain evidence may be thrown out.

Mistakes to Avoid in Drug Possession Cases

In a drug possession case, the biggest mistakes for a defendant to avoid is making any statements that can be used against them and trying to defend themselves without the help of an attorney. This is particularly important where the prosecutor’s case will require proof of constructive possession of a drug.  In determining if the person knew of the presence of drugs, the court will give greater weight to the statements and conduct of an accused person. Additionally, Mclean’s drug laws can be nuanced so it is essential to have an attorney to help one navigate defending.

Knowledge of Controlled Dangerous Substances Could Help a Defendant’s Case

A lawyer’s knowledge of controlled dangerous substances could help a person who is charged with illegal possession of drugs in several ways.  First, an attorney will know what elements the Commonwealth must prove in order for a person to be found guilty of possession of an illegal drug.  Second, a knowledgeable attorney will know what defenses are applicable to a person’s case. And third, an attorney could hold the Commonwealth to the burden of proof and will be able to illuminate for the court or jury when the Commonwealth has failed to meet its burden.

Process of Building a Drug Possession Defense

When building a McLean drug possession defense, an attorney will begin by learning the facts of the case. Drug attorneys will want to know things such as:

  • What was the initial cause of the person’s interaction with law enforcement?
  • How did the officer become aware of the presence of an illegal drug and what drugs specifically?
  • Where were said drugs found and in what amount?
  • Did the accused person make any statements regarding the drugs?
  • Does the accused have a criminal record that involves drug possession?

Learning the answers to these questions can help an attorney build a defense. If the officer did not encounter the accused by consent, pursuant to some reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity, or pursuant to a valid search warrant, one defense may be utilizing a motion to suppress any seized evidence. If the drugs were not found in one’s immediate possession, an attorney will likely want to build a defense by arguing that the accused did not constructively possess the drugs. And where the amount of a substance is what makes the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge, determining the exact weight of a substance may prove to be a defense to a more serious charge.

Importance of Contacting an Attorney As Soon As Possible

It is essential to contact an experienced drug possession lawyer early on in a case because of the severity of potential penalties upon conviction. In addition, any statements or actions taken by an accused while a case is pending may be used to the detriment of the person’s case and having an attorney to counsel one through what to say and do can be critical.  This is particularly important where persons are invited to speak with law enforcement after being charged.

One should note that law enforcement officers on their own cannot make an accused a plea offer or guarantee a disposition – plea offers can only be extended by prosecutors. Often, people mistakenly believe that they are doing themselves a favor by cooperating with law enforcement, whereas that is not always the case. Also, because many of Virginia’s drug possession laws are jailable offenses, people should work with experienced drug attorneys to protect their rights and their freedom. Call a well-versed lawyer today for help with building a McLean drug possession defense.

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