Constitutional Issues in Chesterfield Drug Cases

The Fourth Amendment is freedom from illegal searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment is to remain silent and free from self-incrimination. Those are going to be the two constitutional issues which pop up in nearly every drug possession case. If you have been charged with a drug offense, you should seek a lawyer who understands the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, understands the proper way to argue them, understands the proper way to file motions, and be prepared with case law when going to court on those particular issues. Consult a qualified drug attorney that has experience handling constitutional issues in Chesterfield drug cases and can use that experience to build a solid defense for you.

Impact That Constitutional Issues Can Have on the Case

When it comes to constitutional issues in Chesterfield drug cases, the Fourth Amendment has a greater impact than the Fifth. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution essentially says that all individuals in the United States are free from unlawful searches and seizures by the government. Practically speaking, if the police do something illegal, they then cannot benefit from it in court. That is what it boils down to.

In drug cases, the police see somebody without either a reasonable articulable suspicion that crime is afoot or has probable cause for arrest. If they do so, they only have probable cause or RAS (reasonable articulable suspicion) that a crime is afoot. Then, anything that they discover or find after that illegal act becomes something called the fruit of the poisonous tree and is thrown out.

Example of Fourth Amendment Issues in Drug Cases

If an individual is walking down the street and police officers, without any probable cause or any reason and tackled them and put them in handcuffs, that would be an issue. It would make matters worse if the officer asks if the individual has any drugs on them, they say yes, and the officers take the drugs out of their pants. Since the police did not have probable cause to tackle that person in the first place, then the question of whether or not they had drugs on them and their affirmative response which led to the drug seizure, are all going to be thrown out in court and that evidence cannot be used in a trial.

The implications of constitutional issues in Chesterfield drug cases can be very impactful. If the defense attorney can win a motion to suppress based on the Fourth Amendment, that will destroy the Commonwealth’s case. The evidence gathered by the officers after that illegal act is normally going to be drugs, and if they cannot use that evidence, the Commonwealth will have no case.

Fifth Amendment Issues

The Fifth Amendment is two-fold. If the officers elicit statements from a person in an illegal manner, and those statements lead the officers to evidence, if the statement gets suppressed, so does anything the Officers obtained from that illegal statement gets suppressed as well. An individual on the street is legally arrested by the officers and then ask where the drugs are. The individual may respond that he wants a lawyer. By law, the questioning must stop there. If the officers threaten the individual if they do not tell them where the drugs are, and the person confesses that the drugs are down the street; that they hid them there because they saw the officers coming, the statement that they hid them when they saw the officers coming would be suppressed, and neither the judge nor the jury would ever hear that statement because it was obtained illegally.

Secondly, the statement that led the Officers to the drugs was obtained illegally so the drugs would be thrown out as well. Once again, that would be the fruit of the poisonous tree. Lastly, if an illegal statement is elicited by the police, then that statement can be thrown out. It can be telling the officers where the drugs are or after the police officers find the drugs and attempt to determine if they were selling the drugs. That statement shows the person’s intent to sell or the intent to hold or the intent to possess; whatever the case may be, that statement is then thrown out. That can take a charge from possession with intent to distribute down to a simple possession. These are quick examples of constitutional issues in Chesterfield drug cases. If an individual has noted constitutional issues in their drug case, they should consult their qualified drug attorney that could incorporate the issues into their defense.