Is every drug case defendable?

Ladan Law: They’re all defendable, and here’s why. The first question that you want to ask in any drug case is how did the person come into contact with the police? Was it a legal stop? Was it a legal search? Some things trigger your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure, and some things don’t.

An experienced attorney who has both prosecuted and defended cases (which all of the attorneys here at The Ladan Law Firm, P.A. have) should be able to pretty quickly identify, even in an initial meeting, if there’s a problem. This could be a problem regarding how the police came into contact with someone or if they’ve violated rights protecting against an unlawful search or seizure.

It happens all the time. Law enforcement have their own set of priorities. First and foremost is to not get hurt. They won’t mind frisking somebody, turning somebody’s pockets inside out, or handcuffing somebody before they’ve established the requisite probable cause in order to protect themselves. I understand that, but it is a violation of constitutional rights.

If the judge feels that way, we can get all of the evidence that was taken after that illegal seizure or search thrown out, and the state is basically left with no evidence to prosecute a case.

The second question to be asked is whether you were aware that you were carrying drugs? A recent case from Florida Supreme Court has said that if you’re in possession, it’s very unlikely that you’re unknowingly carrying drugs. But it is a defensible position that you’re allowed to argue. It does happen.

Perhaps you’re in a rental car and they find drugs not on the driver, but in the spare tire compartment. In a case like this, it’s going to be very difficult to prosecute someone for knowingly having drugs in their possession.

The third question we ask concerns different types of possession. There’s actual possession, such as in your pockets or hands. Then there’s constructive possession, where if you’re in a place with other people, and the drugs could belong to them as likely as they could belong to you.

These are some of the factors we consider as we analyze any drug case. An experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to identify those pretty quickly.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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