Many people find themselves accused of criminal charges because they were too cooperative with the police. When an officer pulled you over for a minor traffic infraction or possibly an issue with your vehicle, you probably thought that cooperating with them would lead to the best outcome.
However, a few questions turned into a request to search your vehicle. Your permission to search ended up backfiring, as the officer found drugs shoved under the back seat or tucked away in the trunk of your vehicle. You had no idea that those items were even there, but the officer still arrested you.
Will you end up convicted of a drug crime just because an officer searched your vehicle?
Not all searches hold up in court
Maybe you didn’t give permission for the officer to search your vehicle, but they told you they would search it anyway. Unless they already had probable cause to suspect criminal activity, their search could have been illegal.
Any time an officer violates the law or someone’s civil rights, they risk the possibility of the courts throwing out the evidence they gather. If there is police misconduct involved in the collection of evidence, a defendant’s attorney may be able to exclude that evidence from their trial.
The prosecution has to establish constructive possession
When a police officer finds drugs near you but not in your physical possession, it will likely raise a claim of constructive possession. They hope to convince the Maryland criminal courts that you, the driver or owner of that car, knew about those drugs and had control over them.
Your defense strategy might focus on proving that you were unaware of the drugs and therefore could not control them. The lack of your fingerprints or other genetic evidence on the packaging could help prove you had nothing to do with those items ending up in your vehicle. Showing a complicated history of vehicle ownership or of many passengers in your vehicle could also potentially help.
The more questionable it becomes that you knew about those items and place them in the vehicle, the harder it will be for the state to successfully prosecute you. You may also be in a position to raise questions about the search of your vehicle.
Learning more about the conditions necessary for successful drug charges in Maryland can help you start developing a defense strategy to avoid a conviction.