Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin Possession
Have you been arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin in Missouri or Illinois? Don’t take these charges lightly, as there may be serious consequences for a Possession conviction. Call criminal defense attorney Tyson Mutrux of The Mutrux Law Firm today. Criminal defense lawyer Tyson Mutrux successfully defends those accused of possession crimes across the states of Missouri and Illinois. To discuss your options following a drug arrest with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer in Central Missouri or Illinois, contact us today at 314-270-2273.
Consequences of Marijuana, Cocaine, or Heroin Possession Convictions: Loss of Job, Seizure of Personal Property, No Student Loans, even Jail Time
Possession of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin charges carry with them serious consequences if convicted. For example, even the smallest amount of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin can result in loss of your job and sometimes seizure of your vehicle or personal property (most commonly, the property seized is cash on hand, especially if there is more than $700). People seeking government assistance for education might not qualify for federal student loans after being charged with a misdemeanor drug offense. Even if the court dismisses your case, you may be barred from receiving student loans to continue your education.
Defending Possession of Marijuana, Cocaine, or Heroin Cases: Criminal Defense Attorney Tyson Mutrux Looks for Evidence of Illegal Search And Seizure, Mistaken Identity, Constructive Possession Issues, and Drug Test Issues
When arrested and charged with a drug possession crime, retaining criminal defense lawyer Tyson Mutrux from the earliest point possible can be the critical turning point for defending your case. As an experienced defense firm, we will be able to dissect the facts of your arrest and examine them for evidence of illegal search and seizure, mistaken identity, and any other affirmative defenses which may negate the charges against you.
Criminal defense attorney Tyson Mutrux also examines the issue of the State’s burden of proving that the substance was, indeed, marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. Many officers use what is referred to as a “hit kit”, a portable drug testing kit known as the Duquenois-Levine Reagent. It tests for marijuana, hashish, hash oil, THC, and residues of THC in smoking paraphernalia. Current Missouri and Illinois laws does require the State to enter “official” lab results into evidence to convict on misdemeanor Drug Possession and Drug Paraphernalia charges.
“Simple Possession?” Think Again!
Even very small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin can lead to serious criminal offenses. Criminal defense attorney Tyson Mutrux has defended many clients charged with the misdemeanor or felony offenses of marijuana, cocaine, or heroin possession. Often clients are shocked to hear that what appeared to be a “simple possession charge” is really a charge that can carry heavy court sanctions. For example, prosecutors will often seek a sentence that includes a substance abuse evaluation and counseling or treatment, and random drug testing, coupled with several years of probation.
It is not uncommon for prosecutors to suggest to the Judge that some jail time is appropriate if your criminal record reflects prior convictions for drug possession, cultivation, or sale. Facing a “simple” Possession of Marijuana, Cocaine, or Heroin charge is often not as simple as the name of the offense suggests. Having an experienced possession defense attorney on your side at the earliest possible time can help make the difference in the outcome of your case.
Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession
Keep in mind that “ownership” of the marijuana, cocaine, or heroin has little to no bearing on the question of “possession.” The drugs may not be “your” drugs; they may be your friend’s, neighbor’s, or a stranger’s, but that has no bearing on the charge of Possession. Missouri and Illinois’s criminal drug laws do not take into account whether the drugs actually belonged to you or another person. The only concern is whether you were in “possession” of the item. For purposes of Missouri and Illinois law, possession of marijuana can be one of two types: “actual” or “constructive.”
“Actual” possession refers to a situation where an individual has an illegal drug on their person. For example, someone who has a baggie of marijuana in their pocket would be in “actual” possession of the marijuana. Believe it or not, actual possession is not always enough to convict, especially if the possession is only temporary such that a person does not have dominion and control of the weed. Thus, if a few St. Louis citizens are merely passing a joint around amongst friends, that doesn’t mean everyone is guilty of possession of cannabis.
On the other hand, a person can also be in “constructive” possession of a drug. Constructive possession refers to a situation where a person has knowledge of the item and the ability to access the item. Consider the following scenario: An individual is stopped while driving a car and law enforcement then searches his vehicle. The search of the vehicle reveals cocaine in the glove box or center console. Although the driver wasn’t “holding” the cocaine, Missouri and Illinois laws still permit the prosecutor to pursue a conviction for possession of cocaine. This concept is commonly referred to in the law as having the ability to exercise “dominion and control.” That is, the prosecutor attempts to prove that the driver had knowledge of the item’s whereabouts, as well as, the ability to have accessed the drug. This may not be enough to sustain a conviction, and criminal defense attorney Tyson Mutrux will investigate such facts and file all appropriate motions when constructive possession is an issue.
Illegal Searches in Drug Possession Cases
Drug possession charges commonly stem from a search of a home, automobile or person, conducted by law enforcement or through information gathered by a confidential informant working for law enforcement. When the behavior of a confidential informant crosses the line, a drug charge may be dismissed based upon a theory of entrapment. Another important issue to consider is whether or not the initial search was lawful. If the stop or search was illegal, the evidence gained from that search (i.e., the drugs) becomes inadmissible in court.
The inadmissibility of evidence found via an illegal search is known as the “fruits of the poisonous tree” doctrine. Simply put, if the search is illegal, all evidence flowing from the search is tainted and cannot be used in court. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can examine your case to evaluate the lawfulness of any search conducted by law enforcement. If the search is suspect, a motion will be filled to “suppress” the evidence that flowed from the unlawful search.
The laws governing Possession of Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin are shrouded with nuances and distinctions that can change the outcome of your case. It is vital that you seek the advice of St. Louis Criminal Lawyer Tyson Mutrux immediately. Call our office today at 314-270-2273 for a free initial consultation. Together we can discuss the unique facts of your case and review all of your options to decide your best course of action.