Charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Drug Possession)? We service Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Call Today.
Are you or someone you know facing a drug charge in Fort Worth, Arlington, or a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas? If so, you need an aggressive and experienced Fort Worth Drug Crimes Attorney who can effectively argue your case and work to preserve your freedom and your clean criminal record.
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in the Fort Worth area, it is likely that you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges that, if convicted, could result in life-changing circumstances. Your liberty is at risk! Not only is your liberty at risk, your ability to find meaningful employment could be jeopardized if you do not resolve your case in a manner that allows your possession of a controlled substance charge to be removed from your criminal record. It is critical that you hire a criminal attorney in Fort Worth that specializes in criminal defense.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, a person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance. A controlled substance can include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, GHB, prescription drugs, etc. Each penalty group for controlled substances is categorized upon the level of potential damage and concern the particular drug causes in the community. For instance, heroin and methamphetamine are punished at a more serious range of punishment than certain prescription medication.
The punishment range for possession of a controlled substance can range from a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the Tarrant County Jail and a $4,000 fine, up to life in prison if you are charged with possession over 400 grams of certain illegal drugs. Generally speaking, the be 180 days in a state jail facility up to life in prison depending upon the amount that is charged.
What does “possess” mean? Under Texas drug possession law, Possession means to exercise care, custody or control over the illegal drugs and you must have done so with criminal intent (intentionally or knowingly). When considering whether someone exercised care, custody or control, the police look for several factors:
Were The Drugs Within Your Wingspan?
The question here is whether the police can determine that the illegal drugs were within your reach at the time of the search. In other words, at the time of the search, were the police able to determine that you could have reached the drugs or that the drugs were within your “wingspan.” The further away the drugs are from you at the time of the search, the harder it is for the narcotics officer to establish that you exercised care, custody or control over the drugs. Remember, merely being in the presence of the drugs at the scene of the search does not, by itself, establish sufficient evidence to show that you exercised care, custody or control over the drugs.
For example: A client was riding as a backseat passenger with some friends headed to a club. He hitched a ride with his friends hoping to make it to the club but, instead, the car was pulled over by the officer for a traffic violation. The driver of the car gave consent to search the vehicle and drugs were found under the passenger seat. The client was sitting on the back seat behind the driver. All occupants of the car were questioned and no one admitted knowledge or ownership. What happens? In this instance, all were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. In this situation, there are multiple problems with this drug case: first, it is arguable that the drugs were not within the “wingspan” of the client, meaning no specific proof that he would have been able to exercise care, custody or control over the illegal drugs.
Can The Drugs Be Affirmatively Linked To You?
Another inquiry regarding possession of a controlled substance is whether the State of Texas or narcotics officer can affirmatively link the drugs to you. Failure to affirmatively link the drugs to you will result in a not guilty verdict at a jury trial.
For example: a group of narcotics agents show up at your apartment with a search warrant to search for illegal drug possession. You share this apartment with 3 other room mates and you know you did nothing wrong. As the officers search the apartment, they find drugs in a drawer in the living room area and immediately begin to question everyone present. You say that you have no idea what that is and that it is not yours and knew nothing about it. All of your room mates remain silent. The narcotics officers decide to arrest everyone for felony drug possession. Will this arrest hold up in court? It will be difficult for the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally or knowingly exercised care, custody or control over a controlled substance when there is no evidence affirmatively linking you to the drugs. Merely being present at the scene and living in the apartment is not sufficient. What if the officers find your wallet next to the drugs? What if in the drawer the officers find your car keys or driver’s license or a utility bill? This could change everything. Now, the prosecutor will argue there was something specific identifying you that will affirmatively link you to the illegal drugs. However, failure to provide some type of evidence to link you to the drugs, the prosecutor will have a very weak case.
This example illustrates an important lesson: DO NOT talk to the police when they question you during a drug search or execution of a search warrant. You have a right to remain silent and everything that you say will be used against you. Even the innocent things shared with the police officer could be twisted and turned to make it appear you confessed to something. It is in your best interest to make certain you hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to do the talking for you. Everything a criminal attorney says is hearsay and cannot be used against you.
Possible Defenses To Possession of a Controlled Substance
No Criminal Intent To Possess
As we have discussed earlier, in order to convict you for possession of a controlled substance, the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you exercised care, custody or control over illegal drugs INTENTIONALLY! If you were sitting a car and there were drugs under your seat and you had no idea they were there, that is not sufficient evidence to prove criminal intent to possess drugs. If you were sitting in the passenger seat of a car and there were drugs in the center console of the car that you knew nothing about, you should not be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Your Fort Worth drug possession attorney must analyze the specific facts of your drug possession case and identify the weaknesses to establish reasonable doubt regarding your criminal intent.
Unable To Affirmatively Link To You
Similarly, if you were merely present at the scene where illegal drugs were located, you should not be charged with possession of a controlled substance. The best drug lawyers will argue that without specific facts and evidence affirmatively linking you to the area where the illegal drugs were found, the drug case should be dismissed. Ask your drug possession lawyer if your facts support this defense because it can be an effective way to get your drug case dismissed.
Grand Jury Presentation
Have you been charged with a felony drug possession case? If so, the grand jury could be an effective way for your criminal defense lawyer to resolve your case quickly for a dismissal. The grand jury system exists for the purpose of filtering out bad cases that are not supported by evidence. In fact, a grand jury can receive evidence from both the prosecutor and the criminal defense lawyer and determine whether a crime has occurred. After hearing the presentation of the evidence, the grand jury has three options: (1) keep the drug possession case as a felony and staff it with a felony district court; (2) lower the charge to a lesser misdemeanor drug charge; or (3) No Bill the case. A no bill can be thought of as a complete exoneration of all charges and will make you eligible for a complete expunction of all drug arrest and court records. The best drug possession attorneys take advantage of the grand jury system by preparing an evidence packet outlining one of the defenses in the section to provide you the best opportunity to have your case no billed.
Illegal Search And Arrest
One of the first places an experienced and aggressive drug possession attorney should look in defending a drug case is the search and arrest. If your drug possession arrest originated from a traffic stop, your drug lawyer needs to examine the traffic stop to determine if there was reasonable suspicion for the stop. If the officer pulled you over based upon a hunch, your drug attorney can file a motion to suppress and your entire drug case may be dismissed based upon the illegal traffic stop. If your drug possession arrest originated from a search warrant being executed, your drug lawyer needs to examine the arrest warrant affidavit to see if the facts in the affidavit establish probable cause for the search and arrest. If the search warrant affidavit was defective by not having sufficient facts to support the search, your drug possession lawyer can file a motion to suppress to potentially have your drug case dismissed. This highlights the importance of hiring an experienced drug possession attorney that has successfully litigated these issues so that you do not miss out on the opportunity of being treated fairly and obtaining a favorable result on your drug possession case.
Illegal Drug Dog Search
Were you arrested for drug possession based upon a drug dog search? How long did it take the officers to obtain a drug dog to execute the search? Did you wait hours for the drug dog to arrive? If you waited for an extended time for a drug dog search, your drug possession case may be subject to dismissal. There is U.S. Supreme Court precedent establishing that the police are not permitted to hold for an unreasonable amount of time waiting for a drug dog. Waiting several hours on the side of the road not being permitted to leave could be an unreasonable search, violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Your Fort Worth drug possession attorney needs to thoroughly analyze the facts of your drug dog search to see if they police violated your constitutional rights.
Equitable Arguments For THC Oil Cases and Edibles
What if you did, in fact, illegal possess a controlled substance but the current state of the law in Texas creates an inequitable punishment for your drug case? This can happen sometimes with THC oil cases and edibles. For example, is it really fair to face the same range of punishment as possession of heroin or methamphetamine for possessing THC oil? Of course not! What about a pan of brownies with a small of amount of THC oil. Under Texas drug possession laws, the State of Texas is allowed to weigh the entire substance, including adulterants and dilutants in determining the severity of the charge. As a result, a pan of brownies could be charged as a first degree felony drug possession charge with a punishment of up to life in prison. This is not fair and does not make sense!
Through the efforts of your experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney, you may be able to get your drug possession case dropped to a much lower charge based upon these equitable arguments.
Defending those Charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance
If you have been arrested and charged with possession or delivery of a controlled substance in Fort Worth, Arlington, or in Tarrant and surrounding counties, you need an attorney who has experience handling drug possession cases in Texas. A drug conviction could carry with it the possibility of jail time and fines. At Fulgham Law Firm P.C. our goal is to prevent jail time and to help you clear your record.
Contact our Fort Worth office now at 817-886-3078 for a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Fort Worth Possession of Controlled Substance Lawyer .
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