Constitutional Issues in Richmond Drug Cases

The violation of your constitutional rights is not only illegal, but it can also play an instrumental role in your drug case. Constitutional issues in Richmond drug cases can complicate cases, but in the hands of a skilled drug lawyer, these issues can actually bolster your defense. If you have been charged with a drug crime, retain a determined drug attorney who can fight for you.

Fourth Amendment Issues

Constitutional issues in Richmond drug cases will always arise, and will always be used in order to build a defense. These issues typically concern the Fourth and a Fifth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is someone’s right to be free from illegal searches and illegal seizures. That includes seizures of the person and seizures of their property. When someone is dealing with a possession, an attorney must question how the officers obtained the drugs, how they knew the defendant had the drugs, and so on. In order to do that, they have to seize them or seize a person.

In every drug case, there is always going to be an issue of the Fourth Amendment. Sometimes, that issue is shot down through the use of a search warrant or an arrest warrant. But if there is no warrant, whether a search, arrest, or otherwise, then it becomes the Commonwealth’s burden to prove that the officers did not use illegal means to either seize their person or seize their items, which ultimately either turned out to be some scheduled substance or had a scheduled substance in it.

Fifth Amendment Issues

Another constitutional issue that often arises in drug cases is the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. A lot of people do not understand how important this right is. When someone is arrested or when someone is taken into custody or when they are seized, whatever the case may be, they have the right to remain silent. With this right in drug cases, the Commonwealth has the burden of proof not only that the person either possessed the item or possessed the item with the intent to distribute it but that the person did so with some criminal intent.

Either the person possessed it on purpose, the person meant to have it, or, with a possession with intent to distribute, the person possessed it and they had the intent to sell it, give it away, or whatever the case may be. A lot of times, the Commonwealth cannot prove that second element of the intent. They can prove that the person had it but the person may not have known that they had it or they can prove that the person did know that they had it but they did not intend to sell it or they did not intend to give it away for personal use.

Constitutional Issues and Proving Intent

Constitutional issues in Richmond drug cases can even come into play when the prosecution is trying to prove intent. The way that the prosecution ultimately gets the intent element in is by questioning the defendant or the individual who is being charged. If someone remains silent and does not tell them anything, then they cannot use anything that the person says against them. If someone requests a lawyer, then they cannot ask that person any questions unless a lawyer is present. However, if they start questioning that person and the person either consents to answer their questions or they ignore their Miranda warnings or they start blurting out stuff out of fear, then they are helping the Commonwealth build the case against them.

That happens in a lot of cases and that is why the Fifth Amendment right/the right to remain silent, is so important. If law enforcement does not Mirandize the person or if they do something to them to elicit a response, and they have invoked their Fifth Amendment right or asked for an attorney, then any of those statements can be thrown out and cannot be used them against them.

Value of a Lawyer

Contact a knowledgeable drug lawyer if you want to know more about how constitutional issues in Richmond drug cases can play an instrumental role in your defense.The Fourth Amendment right to be free from searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment rights remain silent is always going to prevalent in drug cases and it is imperative that you know your rights, and you do not consent to anything because ultimately, the state will use that information against you. If you face drug charges, speak to a skilled Richmond drug lawyer who can advocate for you.