As a Harris County Drug Attorney I have seen many different types of drug cases. Today I want to explain some defenses that I have used in the past to help my clients get dismissals/acquittals.
No Links Defense
Take for example a teenager who borrows his aunt’s car to go to the store. On the way to the store he is acting like a typical teenager, music up, windows down, no seatbelt, speeding. An officer sees him and pulls him over. The officer stereotypes and makes the assumption that this teenager must be up to no good and asks for permission to search the car. The teenager, knowing he has done nothing wrong gives consent (never do this!).
The officer searches the trunk and finds a shoebox full of individually wrapped baggies of cocaine. The teenager is arrested for a very serious felony drug charge.
In this case there is a links defense. It is pretty obvious that had he known there was a ton of cocaine in the car that he would not have given consent to search. It is also not his car. In this case we would bring as much proof as we can to show he usually does not drive that car, it is not his car, he only borrowed it that day, and he had no clue of the contents.
I had a case very similar to this that was dismissed when we were able to convince the DA that this teen had nothing to do with the drugs in the car.
Third Person Defense
Take for example, a person heads over to a friend’s house and picks him up for a night on the town. On the way to the bar they get pulled over for speeding. The driver has a warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket and is arrested. During a search incident to arrest, they find heroin under the passenger seat. The passenger claims he had no clue it was there, no one takes credit for it, so they charge the driver because it was his vehicle.
This is almost a combination defense between links and a 3rd party. But in this particular case, the defense was that it belonged to the passenger. Many times in this situation I send my client for a hair follicle test to show that they don’t use drugs (if this is the case). I also always run the third party through a background check to look for priors.
In this particular case I was able to demonstrate that the driver did not use drugs, and had never been in trouble before. However, the passenger was a known drug user with priors for heroin possession. This combined with the fact that the drugs were under the passenger’s seat was enough to get a dismissal.
Many other times a 3rd party will step up and take credit for the drugs. It is possible to get cases dismissed when this happens too, but it is very fact and case specific.
Illegal Search Defense
This is VERY fact specific. Search and seizure law is very complex, and it depends on how everything went down. But the fact of the matter is, a search has to be legal for the drugs to be used against someone in a criminal proceeding.
An officer cannot just barge into your house and search without a warrant. An officer cannot just search your vehicle because they want to. Even with a search warrant officers have to follow certain legal procedures to make sure that the search is valid.
If you have a question about a search in your case reach out to me and we will talk about your situation.
Not Actually Drugs Defense
Another possible defense is that the drugs were not drugs!
Drugs field test positive all of the time. That doesn’t mean they are actually drugs. There have been numerous reports of drugs testing positive which are not drugs at all.
It is always smart to send the drugs to a lab that can accurately test them to see if they are drugs or not. Recently on the news a man was held in jail for 6 months on a cocaine case. When the lab came back, what was it? Drywall residue! Imagine being a plumber, cutting some drywall, and then getting arrested!
If you are searching for a Harris County Drug Attorney give me a call. We can talk about your situation and talk about your options.
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a co-founder of Benavides & Serrano, PLLC. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College, and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by the Houstonia magazine, and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.