This is a question people are asking all over the place because some of these drug crime charges come with some serious consequences. Depending if you just have simply possession charges versus possession for sales versus some sort of a trafficking offense or a conspiracy — that's really going to dictate what type of a punishment or penalty you're looking at. To how to beat it really has to do with the facts of your case.
Unlawful Police Stop
One area that is ripe for beating a drug offense would be if we could prove that the police illegally stopped you. No one can be stopped just for any reason by the police. The police are certainly allowed to investigate cases and talk to people about them and ask them questions, come to their house, see if they could be a witness or see if they're doing something illegal.
But once they start to use some sort of physical force against people related to some sort of a drug investigation, if they don't' have probable cause to do so, then that stop can end up being illegal, and anything that flows from the stop can be suppressed and won't be able to be used against that particular person. So, that's one of the areas that we look at when we're trying to beat a drug charge in Los Angeles, is whether the person was illegally stopped.
Another big area that's ripe for a defense in drug crime case in Los Angeles is when somebody's vehicle is illegally searched and this happens all the time. All of a sudden, somebody's pulled over for just a regular traffic offense, the next thing you know somehow the police are able to search the whole vehicle, and this is where it starts to get tricky because the police know that the first thing a defense attorney is going to do, who knows what they're doing, is try to claim that it's an illegal search of the vehicle, so they're going to start trying to justify how they were able to search the vehicle.
A lot of times they will use what's called the plain view doctrine, which basically says if they legally come up on a vehicle maybe for a traffic offense for example, and in plain view they see something illegal — the butt of a gun, a bag of drugs — there's a whole list of things they can see. Now, they're going to be able to go in the car, get whatever they saw was illegal and they're probably also going to be able to search the car.
Other ways that the police will just take a routine simple traffic stop and make it into a full blown drug investigation where they get to search, is if they've got a situation where somebody gives them consent to search. Obviously, it's not a smart move to give police consent and allow them to search your vehicle if, in fact, you've got something illegal in there.
You don't have to give the police consent to search your vehicle. If they want to search it you tell them no, and then they're going to need to have probable cause to search it, get some sort of a warrant, which a lot of times they're unable to do unless they cheat and just search the car anyways and then claim that you gave them consent.
A lot of times I've seen them after they illegally search somebody's car, now they're going to try to make them sign something where they agree to the police searching the vehicle. Because if you agree to it then that's it, they're able to do it and anything they find they're going to be able to use against you.
Reviewing the Facts and Circumstances
So, these are just a few of the ways that you can beat a drug charge in Los Angeles. There are a lot more ways but they don't all apply in every single place. Obviously, the key is that you have to look at the facts and circumstances surrounding a case and then from there, you're able to determine whether or not there's a good defense in your drug crime case.
A lot of times, it's just simply the facts of the case. That's why the first thing I do when somebody calls in and they've got a drug charge pending against them in Los Angeles is we sit down and we talk about it, and we talk about it under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege where anything is said cannot be used against the person and then we make a decision strategically whether they really do have a defense to the crime, or whether this is the type of a case where they should enter into some sort of a plea negotiation with the prosecutors. So, pick up the phone today so we can figure out whether you can beat your drug charge or whether it's a situation where we need to work out some sort of a resolution.