Constitutional Issues with Chattanooga Drug Cases

One should never allow law enforcement or prosecution to make them promises or otherwise help them handle their case without an attorney present. The consequences of a drug conviction are simply too great to proceed alone and to walk the path of a potential drug conviction without experienced and steady counsel.

Because of the potential for constitutional issues in Chattanooga drug cases, alleged offenders should consider working with an attorney who could set goals and work to suppress any evidence gathered after officers ignored constitutional rights.

Examples of Constitutional Issues and Drug-Related Offenses

One of the most common constitutional issues in a Chattanooga drug case is the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The simple possession case often differs from trafficking or possession with intent to distribute cases because simple possession cases often arise out of traffic stops with citizen-to-police interactions.

In these instances, an officer stops a particular vehicle for a minor traffic infraction, whether it is changing their lane without signaling, speeding, erratic driving, or running a stop sign. It is an innocuous traffic offense that often leads to many simple drug possession charges. However, the simplicity of this stop does not mean that constitutional issues within Chattanooga drug cases is out of the picture.

The Fourth Amendment does afford citizens constitutional protection in the context of traffic stops. However, these protections are significantly more limited than if someone was searched in their home, business, or other locations. However, probable cause to search a vehicle that defeats a Fourth Amendment offense is the key set of elements that an officer uses when looking for drugs during a traffic stop and especially if he suspects that there are illegal drugs within the vehicle.

Officers look to the behavior of a driver, they use their nose to smell and they look to the behavior of passengers to see what is going on during a traffic stop to decide whether or not they need to either make an arrest, call in a search warrant or otherwise proceed to try to find some way around the Fourth Amendment protection afforded to individuals in their vehicle.

Simple possession cases often begin on the side of the road. Having a lawyer who is familiar with litigating simple possession cases after traffic stops, who knows the case law and the constitutional defense available to an individual could give alleged offenders the best chance of beating the case, but a successful defense begins with the individual’s behavior.

Restricting what the individual says to a police officer during a traffic stop and behaving normally goes a long way to avoiding an arrest in the first place, but if someone is searched or is arrested, they should never make an admission of guilt to the police officer on the scene. They should simply remain silent. By remaining silent, they take the first step towards allowing their lawyer in the future to work their skillset in raising constitutional defenses.

For more serious cases involving drug trafficking or possession with intent to distribute, there is often a search warrant for a residence or a vehicle that is established based on probable cause long before the search itself begins.

The search warrant and the affidavit in support of the search warrant is many times in more serious felony cases built on weeks and months of police work, investigation, confidential informant interactions, pictures, video and audio recordings to build a case. Wire taps and cellphone tower information could be crucial in these cases as well to supporting a properly-established affidavit in support of a search warrant.

The time and effort that goes into defending possession with intent and trafficking cases takes a far more skilled hand and experienced attorney to handle and successfully defend these cases. The Fourth Amendment is still a huge component of these drug cases, and oftentimes, the success or failure of the prosecution of these cases by the state turns before trial on an analysis of what evidence is admissible in these cases. Based on the constitutional protections that may have been violated of the individual subject to an arrest, evidence found during a search and seizure following the police investigation could be nullified.

Speak with a Dedicated Legal Representative

A person facing drug charges in Chattanooga should contact an attorney. An attorney provides counsel and provides a barrier between individuals charged with drug crimes in Chattanooga and the state prosecutor seeking to convict them for drug possession charges. Simply because you or someone you know was charged does not mean there are no constitutional issues with Chattanooga drug cases. A person facing drug charges in Chattanooga should reach out to an attorney as soon as practicable to set up the time to either discuss the drug case in person or if the line is secure, they could discuss the case over the phone as soon as possible and always before speaking to the police about the underlying facts and circumstances of one’s charges.

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