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It is critical for anyone charged with possession of a controlled substance to retain a skilled lawyer who is familiar with these charges in the local courts. There could be real issues with the traffic stop or officer’s conduct, but it can be difficult to identify and effectively present a defense without help.
If you were arrested for possessing an illicit substance, you should not leave your case to chance. Let an experienced Amarillo attorney analyze the facts of your arrest and help you build a strong defense.
Recent Trends in Amarillo Drug Enforcement
With the trend towards marijuana legalization throughout the country, law enforcement in Amarillo is on the lookout for potential offenders. Many people travel to Texas from nearby Colorado, where cannabis is legal, and find themselves stopped by the authorities. The Department of Public Safety, Amarillo Police Department, and various other sheriffs and agencies are targeting vehicles that meet certain patterns, such as:
- Colorado license plates
- California license plates
- Multiple people in the car
- Any other reason to pull someone over
There was an instance in Amarillo where someone was driving 72 mph in a 70 mph zone, and the police pulled them over to see if they had any drugs. In Texas, as long as the traffic stop is legal, even if the justification is a minor speeding offense, evidence of drug possession obtained during the stop might be admissible.
This is one of the reasons it is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the law regarding traffic stops and who has experience handling felony drug cases. Skilled lawyers could look at all the issues in the case, including potential problems with the traffic stop. If it is a bad stop, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible.
Building an Illicit Substance Possession Defense
There are multiple ways to build a defense for drug possession. The very first thing is to determine why the police got involved with the accused to begin with. If a person is driving a vehicle through West Texas and gets pulled over, why did the officer say that they stopped them? If it was for speeding, then the lawyer could begin to break down the actual speeding by asking questions such as:
- Where was the officer?
- Where was the accused?
- Was speed recorded by laser or doppler?
- Was speed determined by pacing?
There have been recent cases where an officer pulled someone over because they drove on the solid white line. When viewing the video, however, attorneys determined that the accused did not in fact break the law. Therefore, evidence gathered during the traffic stop was considered illegally obtained.
For example, suppose someone is pulled over and searched due to a supposed odor of marijuana. A guess is not good enough, so law enforcement would then have to ask the driver for their consent to search the vehicle. The driver did not consent to a search, and the officer called in a drug dog. In this situation, an attorney could question how long the driver had to wait, being detained, before the canine unit arrived. If the driver had to wait an unreasonable amount of time, there may be defenses available using case law.
The defense attorney could also look at the detention. If the officers found something, exactly where they found it is an important consideration. Maybe police had a legal reason to be in certain parts of the car, but they did not have a legal reason to be in someone’s purse. Even if authorities can prove that the drugs were in the vehicle, can they prove the drugs were in the driver’s possession? What happens if there were multiple people in the vehicle?
The Definition of Possession in Amarillo
In Amarillo and throughout Texas, ‘to be in possession’ means that the person has actual care, custody, and control over the drug. Someone could be in a vehicle with other people without knowing that drugs were present in the vehicle or in someone’s purse. Even if the accused knew about the controlled substance, knowledge alone is not enough to prove possession because there must also be care and custody.
Contact an Amarillo Drug Possession Attorney
Securing a conviction for drug possession is not always easy for Amarillo prosecutors. There may be powerful defenses available based on legal nuances or police misconduct. However, unrepresented defendants often have difficulty identifying the most effective strategy for their case. For help building an Amarillo drug possession defense, call now and schedule a consultation.