Dallas Drug Defense Lawyer Helps Defend Texans Indicted On Controlled Substance Possession Drug Charges
Learn some of the effective defense strategies employed by a drug arrest lawyer in Dallas to fight indictments brought against Texans to prepare their defenses when they are facing drug charges.
Meth trafficking arrests
The opioid crisis has fueled a push by the federal government and local police departments to step up their efforts to put more drug users behind bars. Five years ago federal authorities arrested eight members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel in Dallas, one of the biggest meth traffickers in the city.(1) Last September 25 were arrested in “operation papercheck.” As the number of drug traffickers running illegal and controlled substances continues to be prevalant in the city, drug arrest lawyers in Dallas can anticipate a full docket in the foreseeable future.
But what these statistics don’t often reveal is that even in a major arrest for drug possession or drug trafficking, authorities must still present sufficient evidence to convince a jury that the circumstances matched the legal definition of the crime.
In the cases of drug possession, which may or may not be easy to prove, defendants who are charged with drug possession can rely on their defense attorneys to present several defenses that can help fight these types of drug charges.
What Is Drug Possession?
Before diving into some possible defenses for drug possession charges, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the general legal definition of drug possession. In other words, what is drug possession, and why can it be such a serious charge?
In most states, drug possession is the possession of some type of controlled substance like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Most state laws prohibit an individual from possessing these types of drugs that are intended for personal use, or for distribution to others.
State drug possession laws differ, but there are typically two factors that are common in a drug possession charge, including the fact that the person arrested for the charge knew that the drug he or she possessed was an illegal substance and knowingly had control of that drug.
Possession can also extend to include what is known as constructive possession of a controlled substance, which means that a defendant can be arrested even if he or she doesn’t physically possess a controlled substance, if he or she has direct access to those drugs.
In most states, possession is charged in two ways, including:
- Simple Possession – Refers to possession for personal consumption
- Possession With Intent To Distribute – Refers to the more serious charge of possessing drugs with the intention of selling them.
What Is Drug Possession In Texas?
Drug possession in Texas is defined as the possession of controlled substances, and the severity of the charges as well as possible punishments are based on the type of drug, and the amount of drugs involved.
The state of Texas has a drug schedule that lists the types of drugs that are considered controlled substances.
For example, possession of less than one gram of a drug on the Schedule 1 list is a state jail felony, and possession of drug more than 400 grams of a drug on that same list is punishable by life imprisonment or a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years and a possible $100,000 fine.(2)
Common Defenses Against Drug Possession
Depending on the amount of drugs a defendant is caught with, a possession charge can result in significant time in jail upon conviction. Attorneys, however, have at their disposal some common defenses against drug possession charges, including:
- Illegal Search – In some instances, defense attorneys can argue that law enforcement officials violated due process by performing an unlawful search and seizure. For example, if there are drugs in plain view when a person at home answers a police officer’s knock, the officer can seize those drugs and enter them into evidence. But if that same officer enters a house and finds drugs under a floorboard without having a search warrant or the resident’s permission, those drugs can’t be used as evidence against a defendant.
- Drugs Were Not Controlled Substances – A defense attorney may also be able to show that the drugs seized from a defendant looked like controlled substances, but were actually something harmless. For example, powder that police assume to be cocaine, could actually be baking soda.
- Evidence Was Planted – This defense can be used in communities that have experienced high levels of police misconduct, especially against specific ethnic groups. Typically, eyewitness accounts and corroborating evidence of past corruption by the arresting police officer or federal agent are necessary for this strategy to work.
Hiring a Drug Arrest Lawyer In Dallas
In 2015, nearly 90 percent of people in jail for felony drug possession in Dallas County were arrested with less than one gram. This statistic points to the importance of hiring a drug arrest lawyer in Dallas who has the necessary experience, contacts, and track record to fight these charges and to protect the legal rights of defendants. John M Helms, federal drug arrest lawyer and former federal prosecutor with the Northern District of Texas can help you navigate the legal minefield of controlled substance charges.