Minneapolis Drug Crime Attorney: Fighting Marijuana Charges in Court
If you are facing drug possession charges in Minneapolis, it is crucial to understand the available defense strategies to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case. From challenging the evidence to asserting specific defenses, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the trajectory of your case.
Gerald Miller, P.A. specializes in fighting marijuana charges in court. The team has extensive experience and expertise in drug possession defense. They are well-equipped to handle tricky drug possession cases.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty in Minneapolis
The American justice system is built on the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence in criminal cases, including drug possession cases. This means that an individual accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The system is designed this way to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals and ensure a fair and impartial trial.
The presumption of innocence serves several important purposes. First, it places the burden of proof on the prosecution to present evidence and prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard ensures that the government bears the responsibility of demonstrating the accused’s culpability rather than requiring defendants to prove a negative that they are innocent.
For many innocent people, no evidence proving their innocence, such as an alibi, exists. If the burden of proof was on the defense, many innocent people would be convicted. By placing the burden on the prosecution, the system safeguards individuals from baseless accusations and potential abuses of power.
Criminal defense lawyers play a crucial role in utilizing the presumption of innocence to win in court. They work doggedly to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and arguments, raising questions and highlighting inconsistencies to establish reasonable doubt in juror’s minds.
Defense attorneys employ various techniques, such as cross-examining witnesses, presenting alternative explanations, or introducing evidence that weakens the prosecution’s case.
For example, consider a case where the defendant is charged with marijuana possession. Defense lawyers may argue that the drugs were planted or that the defendant was unaware of the presence of drugs. They may scrutinize the chain of custody of the evidence, question the reliability of witnesses, or challenge the legality of the search and seizure. By presenting alternative explanations and introducing reasonable doubt, the defense attorney aims to convince the jury that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden
The presumption of innocence is as fundamental to the American justice system as the right against self-incrimination. It acknowledges that a free country must give defendants the benefit of the doubt and reinforces the principle that a person should never be assumed.
The Reasonable Doubt Standard
Reasonable doubt is a legal standard used in criminal cases to determine the level of certainty required for a defendant’s guilt. It means that the evidence presented must be so powerful and convincing that no reasonable person would believe the defendant is not guilty. This high standard of proof is of utmost importance in the American philosophy of justice because it protects individuals from wrongful convictions and upholds the principles of fairness and justice.
In a drug possession case, a criminal defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt by questioning the veracity of the prosecution’s evidence and creating alternative interpretations or explanations to circumstantial evidence.
For example, suppose the defendant is charged with drug possession after a search conducted by law enforcement officers. The defense attorney may challenge the legality of the search, questioning whether the officers had probable cause or a valid search warrant. If the search was conducted without proper justification, the defense attorney can argue that the evidence obtained during the search should be suppressed under the Fourth Amendment.
Additionally, the defense attorney can scrutinize the chain of custody of the seized drugs, pointing out any gaps or inconsistencies that raise doubts about the integrity and reliability of the evidence. They may also question the credibility of the witnesses or challenge the accuracy of the laboratory testing methods used to identify the substance.
By presenting these doubts and alternative explanations, the defense attorney can create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors, making it difficult for them to reach a unanimous verdict of guilt.
Best Minnesota Drug Possession Defenses
Criminal defense lawyers know what defenses work best in front of a judge or jury. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the following defenses may prove effective in achieving a case dismissal or acquittal at trial:
- Lack of probable cause
- Lack of control over the drugs
- Lack of knowledge of the drugs
Lack of Probable Cause
In a Minnesota drug possession case, the lack of probable cause defense challenges the legality of a warrantless search. When law enforcement officers have a warrant, then they have a court’s blessing on probable cause, provided they abide by the terms set by the judge. In essence, the judge has ruled they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.
When law enforcement conducts a search without a warrant, officers must be mindful of establishing legitimate probable cause. Minnesota law requires law enforcement officers to demonstrate in court that their search is justified based on an exception to the requirement for a warrant. For example, if the officer observes a substance a reasonable person would believe is marijuana, he has probable cause for a search.
Likewise, marijuana discovered incidental to an arrest for another offense also qualifies as an exception. Police officers must search suspects when taking them into custody, and if they happen to find marijuana on the subject, it is admissible in court.
If the defense can successfully demonstrate that the search lacked probable cause, any evidence obtained during that search is inadmissible. Without that evidence, the state’s case must rely on proving possession of marijuana based on other evidence. Unless the state has other means of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt, then the suppression of the evidence makes it impossible for the prosecution to continue.
Lack of Control Over the Drugs in Minneapolis
The lack of control over the drugs defense argues that the accused did not have actual or constructive possession of the drugs and therefore should not be held criminally responsible. Actual possession refers to having physical custody or control over the drugs, while constructive possession means having the ability to exercise control over the drugs, even if they are not physically present.
For example, suppose the police pull over a suspect and observe signs of intoxication. Able to establish intoxication, law enforcement believes it has probable cause to search the glove compartment, and the court agrees. Since the officer found marijuana in the glove compartment, the state charged the suspect with marijuana possession.
Since attempts to suppress the evidence failed, a criminal lawyer would consider other defenses, and lack of control over the drugs is an often successful one. If the defense can demonstrate that the accused did not own the vehicle, did not know about the pot, and had no control or access to the drugs, it can contend that the accused lacked control over the drugs. This defense challenges the prosecution’s assertion that the defendant had possession of the drugs to create reasonable doubt.
Lack of Knowledge of the Drugs
The lack of knowledge defense is a strategy used in drug possession cases that asserts the defendant’s lack of knowledge about the presence or nature of the drugs in question. This defense argues that the defendant lacked awareness or intentional possession of the illicit substances, which is a key element in proving guilt.
For example, consider a situation where someone borrows a jacket from a friend and is later arrested. During a search incident to arrest, the officer finds marijuana, making the seized drugs admissible in court. But the defendant has no knowledge of the drugs, They were not his.
The lack of knowledge defense would assert that the defendant had no awareness of the drugs and, therefore, cannot be held accountable for their possession.
This defense can be strengthened by presenting evidence that supports the defendant’s lack of knowledge, such as witness testimony that the suspect borrowed the jacket. It is crucial to establish that the defendant had no reason to suspect the presence of drugs and that their possession was entirely accidental.
The entrapment defense is a strategy used in a Minnesota drug possession case that argues the defendant was induced or coerced by law enforcement to commit the crime. It asserts that the defendant would not have engaged in the illegal activity without the actions of a government agent or informant.
For example, if an undercover police officer or informer repeatedly pressures an individual to purchase drugs and convinces him to do so despite his initial reluctance, the entrapment defense may succeed. The defense would argue that the defendant was not predisposed to commit the offense and only did so due to undue influence and encouragement from law enforcement or an informant.
To successfully establish an entrapment defense, the defendant must demonstrate two key elements: (1) that the idea to commit the crime originated with the government agent or informant, and (2) that the defendant lacked any predisposition or inclination to commit the offense before the involvement of the government.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Drug Charges in Minneapolis
When it comes to defending against drug possession charges, the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable. Gerald Miller, P.A. is a law firm in Minneapolis known for its dedication to protecting the rights of individuals facing drug possession charges. With the team’s expert understanding of the law and strategic defenses, they can help you navigate the legal process, build a strong defense, and advocate for the best possible outcome. If you or someone you know is in need of legal representation for a drug possession case, don’t hesitate to contact Gerald Miller, P.A., and schedule a consultation. Their team is ready to provide you with the personalized and effective legal support you need.
Related Content: How to Fight a Drug Trafficking Charge in MN