Ocean City Drug Possession Lawyer
Drug possession charges in Ocean City can be very serious and require the attention of an Ocean City drug possession lawyer. Some factors that impact the severity of the charge include the type of drug and the amount of the substance. Generally possession specific charges can be separated into two categories: simple possession and felony possession.
Simple possession or misdemeanor possession of a drug typically carries a much smaller penalty, whereas felony possession of a drug can carry prison time and a very high fine. Additionally, if the alleged defendant was believed to have possessed the drug with the intent to sell it or if the defendant possessed the drug and was distributing it then it can become a much more serious charge and warrants contact with a drug lawyer in Ocean City.
Drug possession investigation is a big priority for law enforcement officers in Ocean City. The Ocean City Police Department has police officers assigned to the Worcester County Narcotics Task Force, which means that Ocean City participates in a group that is multi-jurisdictional, and whose sole purpose is to investigate and make arrests in drug cases. The Ocean City Police Department is placing a lot of time, resources, and money into participating in the investigation of drug cases and therefore if you are accused, legal attention from a drug possession lawyer in Ocean City is important.
There are certain drugs that are of particular importance to Ocean City law enforcement by the nature of Ocean City being a tourist attraction. It is not unusual for certain types of drugs to be present in Ocean City. Oftentimes, there are a lot of young people visiting Ocean City on vacation and sometimes they will possess party drugs, like Molly and Ecstasy.
There has also been a huge rise in the abuse of prescription drugs and with that the use of heroin. As a result, they are conducting investigations to find the people who are using it, but also to find the people distributing it and how it’s getting into Ocean City and Worcester County.
All drugs are getting law enforcement’s attention, and they will investigate any crime related to any drug. However, there is a priority placed on heroin and the abuse of prescription drugs like Oxycodone.
Constructive possession is another term for indirect possession. What that means is a person doesn’t have to have the substance in their actual possession in order to be charged with it or convicted of it. All that needs to take place, is that the individual is aware that the substance is there, and is in a location where they can exercise some sort of dominion, control, or authority over it.
Example of Constructive Possession
A perfect example is an item that may be found in my car. Even though the individual may not be in the car at the exact moment the substance is found, if it is somewhere such as the center console, then it is reasonable to suspect that they could exercise authority or control over it.
Ocean City drug lawyers often see groups of people charged through constructive possession. For example, every occupant of a car will be charged with drugs that are found in the center console based on the theory that every one of them potentially could have placed those drugs there. It’s an area where any one of them could get into and could have some control over, so it’s not at all unusual to have every occupant of a car be charged with the drugs that are located in a place like the console or the glove box.
The crime isn’t ownership of the drugs, but the crime is possession of the drugs. It’s just important to understand that under the law a lot of people can possess something at the same time.
Constitutional Issues in Drug Possession Cases
There are several constitutional issues that come up drug cases. Oftentimes with investigating a drug possession case, the defendant is going to have had contact with the police, and it may be that the person was stopped by the police either walking on the street or perhaps, driving in a car. A possession case oftentimes will involve a search where the police officer has searched the defendant’s person or maybe searched the defendant’s automobile, and it was in the course of that search that the officer found and seized the drugs.
All of that interaction with the state involves or triggers the safeguards of the Fourth Amendment. It’s very important to understand how the Fourth Amendment comes into play when litigating a drug possession case where the defendant was stopped and searched, and the drugs were seized.
With all criminal cases, there is also the implication of the Fifth Amendment, the person’s right against self-incrimination, and the Sixth Amendment involving the person’s right to counsel. There are constitutional issues that could come up in every criminal case, but Fourth Amendment search and seizure law is very important when dealing with the crime of drug possession.
Building a Defense
The most important thing to do first is see exactly what the defendant is charged with and what the elements of those charges are, and then determine if the state has the evidence it needs for each and every one of these elements.
It may sound very basic, but it’s one of those situations where just following the most basic way of doing it is best. A lot of times that is where you can find an issue that there is some element that the state does not have. Perhaps they can prove two out of the three elements, but if they can’t prove the third element, the defendant should be found not guilty.
Additionally, when it comes to defenses for drug possession, a lot of the facts can be very important. For example, a defendant could be charged with possession of a drug that was found in a car that he’s a passenger in or he could be charged with drugs that were found in the living room of a condo that he’s renting with other peoples. It’s important to look at that case and recognize the state is attempting to convict the defendant through the theory of constructive possession. A lawyer will consider whether there is enough evidence to support that, what are good arguments to make that so that this is not a case of constructive possession. Those are all important thoughts when thinking about what is the best defense.
There is a diversionary program that is set up in Worcester County for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Other than that, if the defendant is charged with any other type of drugs, they do not get the benefit of participating in any sort of diversionary program.
If a person is charged with less than 10 grams of marijuana, they don’t face any criminal penalties. If they’re charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, they would be able to participate in a diversionary program, and that program would require them to complete community service. It would also require them to provide proofs of negative drug screens.
Reasons To Contact An Attorney
It is to have an attorney when a person is facing any sort of drug charge, but when the stakes are even higher that is all the more reason to have an attorney in place. When talking about things such as possession with intent to distribute, a defendant is facing a felony. It is incredibly serious, could include prison time, and is a conviction that will stay on their record forever. Therefore, it is very important to have legal representation for dealing with all of it. An attorney can help in many ways, including perhaps arguing that these charges should not apply to this particular defendant. For example, it may be that the defendant in fact struggles with substance abuse and therefore the amount of drugs found on their person is not unusual, considering the significance or severity of their addiction. Attorneys can help clarify that to the prosecutor. If the accused were to plead not guilty and have a trial, attorneys are the ones that know the right kinds of questions to ask and the best way to cross examine, all working to suggest that this person did not possess the drugs with the intent to distribute them.
How An Attorney Can Help
It is important to contact an attorney that has experience because there are several different issues that can happen in a criminal drug case and they’re happening all at the same time. An experienced drug possession attorney will know that they have to be looking at several different issues contemporaneously. For example, there are a lot of constitutional issues that come into play typically in a drug possession case and a person should look for an attorney who has a lot of experience in reviewing and arguing those constitutional issues. You want to look for an attorney who has experience in arguing motions that relate to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.
Also, an experienced attorney is going to understand the different nuances of the laws that relate to these offenses. An attorney who understands how to best litigate the difference between felony possession or misdemeanor possession, or an attorney who has experience understanding what constructive possession means and how to successfully create a defense to negate the argument that the drugs were in constructive possession, will be more effective.