Mesa Drug Crimes Defense

Mesa is a large city in Maricopa County, Arizona with a population of approximately 439,041 people. It has a wide array of cultural attractions including the Mesa Arts Center, Mesa Amphitheater, Arizona Museum for Youth, HoHoKam Park, Mesa Grande Ruins, and water parks. In spite of many cultural attractions and things to do for fun, recreational drug use presents a big problem in Mesa and other Arizona cities. The largest age group in Mesa is the group of residents between the ages of 18 and 44. This is also the age range that is found to have the greatest rates of drug use and abuse. If you are charged with a drug offense, Mesa drug crime attorney James Novak may be able to help you fight the charges.

Improper Search and Seizure

Drug possession charges tend to be more straightforward than possession with intent to sell, drug sales, or trafficking charges. Sometimes possession with intent to sell is charged solely on the basis of the amount of drugs at issue. Intent need not be proved if you possess over a certain amount or "threshold" quantity of drugs. This amount varies depending on the type of drug. The threshold amount for heroin is 1 gram, whereas the threshold amount for PCP is 4 grams. The threshold amount of methamphetamine is 9 grams, and the threshold amount of crack cocaine is 750 mg.

If you are caught with drugs in your vehicle, your defense attorney may be able to question the circumstances under which you were stopped and your vehicle searched for drugs. In general, police officers are allowed to briefly detain someone who they have a reasonable suspicion to believe is involved in criminal activity. This reasonable suspicion must be particularized and objective. A police officer is not allowed to detain you simply on a random hunch that you are doing something wrong.

Once you are stopped, a police officer may ask questions to ascertain whether his or her initial suspicion was correct. While the government must usually have a warrant to search your vehicle under the Fourth Amendment, a warrantless search is constitutional if a law enforcement officer develops probable cause to believe your vehicle contains contraband or evidence.

Where a police officer lacks reasonable suspicion to detain you or lacks probable cause to search your vehicle (and where you did not consent to the search), a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that any evidence obtained from your car be suppressed under the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine. This doctrine mandates that evidence be excluded from trial if it was gained through an illegal arrest, an unreasonable search, or a coercive interrogation.

Being able to exclude evidence of drugs seized from your vehicle can make a huge difference in a criminal drug case. Since the prosecution must prove all elements of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney can argue to have the charges dropped when appropriate, or at least reduced. For example, if a threshold amount of drugs are seized from both your vehicle and your house, and your attorney is able to have evidence from one of the searches excluded, the quantity of drugs in evidence could drop to below the threshold amount. In that case, a prosecutor may be more readily persuaded to charge possession, rather than possession with intent to sell.

Retain an Experienced Mesa Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love is charged with drug possession or another drug offense, there are a number of defenses a knowledgeable Mesa drug crime lawyer may put forward on your behalf. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form to set up your free initial consultation today.