When it comes to criminal allegations, some crimes carry harsher penalties than others. Drug manufacturing, drug possession and drug distribution charges can all lead to serious consequences, especially for young people with their whole lives ahead of them. This is why a detailed investigation and a defense strategy are important. This could help them reduce the impact allegations or convictions have on their future, such as their personal and professional life.
Recently, local authorities and the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force received a call reporting a suspicious person at a residence in a Madison County subdivision. Officers allegedly detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the residence, which led to officers obtaining a search warrant so they could begin searching the residence.
The search led to the seizure of approximately 1,200 doses of heroin, one ounce of ecstasy as well as marijuana. Three men and two women were arrested at the scene and their ages ranged from 19 to 36-year-old. All of those arrested are being charged with possession with the intent to distribute heroin, which is a schedule II drug.
The Fourth Amendment protects every citizen from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. When it comes to searching a person’s residence, where a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy, an officer is only allowed to search the property under certain circumstances.
In most cases, an officer must have a valid search warrant, a valid arrest warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. A valid warrant must be supported by a sworn statement by a law enforcement official in front of a neutral judge or magistrate. Probable cause will exist when the facts and circumstances known by the officer will provide a reasonably trustworthy basis for him to believe that a crime is about to take place or has already taken place.
Those facing drug charges are entitled to a defense. This could mean providing evidence that a search, seizure or arrest were invalid. Any evidence found during an invalid search may be suppressed unless the court finds the search reasonable under the circumstances. Furthermore, if the defendant has a clean criminal history that could be used to mitigate the charges or even have some of them dropped. Lastly, a plea bargain could result in reduced or dropped charges.
No matter the type of charge or severity of the consequences, those accused of a drug charge should seek to construct a defense. Seeking advice and guidance will ensure that they are aware of their situation, possible outcomes and best legal route.
Source: NBC 29, “UPDATE: 5 Charged after Madison County Drug Bust,” April 24, 2014