When a drug-related search and seizure is unlawful

By KevinMarcilliat, In Drug Crimes, 0 Comments

Getting charged with drug possession can happen following a routine traffic stop. This is actually one of the most common ways that North Carolina residents get accused of drug possession. A patrol officer might pull you over for a speeding violation, see something that looks like drugs on your backseat and then order a search of your vehicle. If the search reveals illicit substances, you might get arrested and charged with possession.

No matter how strongly evidence appears to point toward your guilt, however, North Carolina criminal law courts are bound by the rule of law to see you as innocent until — and only if — the prosecution can prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Until this happens, you will have every opportunity to defend yourself.

Sometimes the most powerful defense a plaintiff has does not try to refute the fact that he or she was in possession of illicit substances. For example, the defense might point to procedural faux pas made by the arresting officers during the search and seizure process.

The Fourth Amendment gives the right to due process of law. This means that a search and seizure procedure must be lawful before an arrest. If an illicit drug was in view of an officer, then it usually satisfies sufficient cause to conduct a search and seizure — and the discovered drugs could be used as evidence. However, if an officer broke into a trunk without permission to find drugs that were otherwise unseen, the officer probably did not have sufficient cause to conduct the search — and the discovered drugs could not be used as evidence. When the only drug possession evidence gets rendered inadmissible, the judge will often dismiss the case.

At Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, our experienced criminal defense lawyers analyze every case we take on based on its individual factual scenario. We will then craft an appropriate defense strategy to seek a dismissal, a verdict of not guilty, a reduction in punishments or another favorable result.