When you are facing any kind of drug charges in Texas, it is essential to hire an aggressive Dallas criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges. Regardless of whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, or you have been charged with drug crimes under state or federal law, you do not want to attempt to develop your own defense strategy when so much is at stake. To be sure, under the Texas Penal Code, even a Class A misdemeanor offense can result in a conviction that includes up to a year in jail, and many drug crimes are charged as felony offenses. For a third-degree felony conviction, which is the least serious type of felony conviction in Texas outside a state jail felony, you can face anywhere from 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For second-degree and first-degree felony cases, which may be charged with some drug offenses, you could be looking at decades in prison if you are convicted. Convictions under federal law can sometimes be even more severe.
To be clear, you need to do everything you can to have a strong defense strategy. Today we want to discuss unlawful searches under the Fourth Amendment and how an unlawful search may be a successful defense strategy in a drug crimes case.
Unlawful Search and Fourth Amendment Violation
Whether you have been charged with drug possession, manufacture, distribution, or another related offense in Texas, a large part of the prosecution’s case likely involves evidence that was obtained from your person or property during a search. Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, any searches where law enforcement officers do not have a warrant require that those law enforcement officials have “probable cause” (with some exceptions). If drugs were found as part of an unlawful search, that evidence cannot be used against you. In some cases, even an initial stop by police may have been unlawful, which could mean that any search that followed a stop—whether you were on foot or in a motor vehicle, for example—may also have been unlawful.
What are some of the exceptions to a warrantless search? Depending upon where the search took place, if you gave consent or permission for the search, then the search was probably lawful and you cannot rely on a Fourth Amendment violation as a defense strategy. Warrantless searches can also be lawful in some circumstances, even when there is no probable cause, if the search was incident to arrest, if the drugs were in plain view, or if there were clear exigent circumstances.
An experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas can evaluate the facts of your case to determine whether a search that resulted in the confiscation of a controlled substance may have occurred in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.
Contact a Dallas Drug Crimes Defense LawyerIf you have questions or need assistance about developing a defense strategy for drug crimes or charges, you should seek advice from a Dallas criminal defense attorney at our firm. We work tirelessly to fight for clients who are facing criminal charges, and we will do everything we can to help you beat the drug crimes charges you are facing. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC for more information.