Unlawful Canine Drug Searches of a Vehicle

Unlawful Canine Drug Searches of a Vehicle

150 150 Steven Sessa

Representing individuals charged with drug crimes is a mainstay of our West Palm Beach criminal defense practice. If you have been charged with a drug offense, it is critical that you speak with an experienced attorney in order to protect your rights and ensure that all legal measures are taken to contest the charge or to lessen the penalties you may face. Hiring an attorney with experience in fighting drug charges can drastically affect the outcome of your case. In some instances, it can make the difference between a dismissal and jail or prison.

Drug Crime Practice Areas

Our West Palm Beach attorneys represent clients in a wide range of drug offense areas, including:

Controlled Substance Experience

Our law firm has extensive experience litigating drug charges for a wide variety of controlled substance types. Our case work includes:

  • Marijuana / Cannabis
  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine / Meth / Crystal Meth
  • Prescription Drugs (Oxycodone, Roxycodon, Hydrocodone, Valium, Xanax and others)
  • Drug Paraphernalia

How We Fight Drug Charges

With the technical experience gained from handling thousands of criminal cases, our firm fights drug charges with a variety of litigation strategies. First, we examine the legality of the police actions that led to the search, seizure, or arrest involved in your case. If the police acted unlawfully in stopping your vehicle, conducting a “pat down” search, questioning you, carrying out an investigative stop, obtaining a search warrant, or executing a search warrant, then their actions may constitute a violation of the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments to U.S. Constitution, and provide grounds to exclude critical evidence in the case.

This exclusion of evidence in a drug case is pursued through the filing of a Motion to Suppress. Some example Motions filed by our firm include:

The second step in fighting a drug charge is to determine whether the case is subject to dismissal for lack of evidence. In possession cases, for example, the State of Florida must establish all factual elements of either actual or constructive possession. Where one element is missing, or where the State attempts to rely on inferences not permitted under the law, the case can often be disposed of with a Motion to Dismiss. This type of legal defense is particularly useful with drug possession crimes involving multiple persons or joint access to property, or where the State alleges a drug conspiracy.

Where legal or technical defenses cannot dispose of a drug charge, the case is litigated to determine the strength of the State’s evidence and explore factual defenses. Common evidentiary problems can include an inability to prove knowledge of the substance, and lack of evidence as to dominion and control over the substance. The drugs may have belonged to another person and, in cases where there multiple persons occupy a vehicle or dwelling, it may be difficult to establish who knew about or had access to the drugs.

These are just a few of the factual issues that may be raised with a controlled substance charge. If the evidence sufficiently weak, it is often possible to negotiate for a voluntary dismissal of the charges. Weaknesses in the State’s case can also be used as bargaining leverage to extract lenient offers that protect the interests of the accused. If the prosecution will not dismiss the charges, or if they take a position that is not acceptable to the defense, then the case is taken to trial and submitted to a jury for resolution.

For first-time offenders or defendants with minimal criminal record, it is also possible to obtain a dismissal through a diversionary program such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI).

In such cases, the State Attorney will drop all charges upon the defendant completing certain conditions, which may include community service, payment of fines, and drug evaluations or treatment. The types of conditions required will depend on the nature of the charge, the history of the accused, and any mitigating or aggravating factors in the case.

Hire An Attorney

If you have been arrested for a drug crime in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Broward County, St. Lucie County, or Martin County Florida, contact an experienced attorney At Sessa Law, P.A.. Our consultations are free and confidential.