Interviewer: What are some common misconceptions that people have about drug cases?
Randy Berman: I don’t think anybody has a misconception about drug cases. The misconception that people have if there is one, usually involves the legality of the search when unlawful drugs are found either in a car or in a home or on the person’s body.
Mitigating Factors for Drug Related Cases in the State of Florida
Interviewer: If I was involved in a drug case what is the thing that would help my case?
Randy Berman: Well, the first thing that I always look at if someone comes to me with a drug case is how the drugs were found, what the officer did, how is it that the officer came to confront you? Depending on whether the officer had probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search you can determine the outcome of your case right away. If the officer lacks probable cause or reasonable suspicion and they found drugs on you, those drugs that they found will be subject to a motion to suppress and if that motion were successful would result in the dismissal of the case.
Also, there are situations where drugs might be found in a car that is occupied by more than one person. If the drugs aren’t in someone’s pocket or handbag but in a place that was accessible to more than one person, oftentimes you’ll see the driver being charged for the possession. A good defense is to say that the driver did not have exclusive possession and therefore they can’t prove the driver knew of the drugs or possessed them.
Aggravating Factors for Drug Related Cases in the State of Florida
Interviewer: What are the things that people do to hurt their case? Or is there anything that people do or say that hurts their case when it comes to drug cases?
Randy Berman: The most obvious problem that the people cause themselves is admitting to law enforcement that the drugs are theirs, so that if the drugs from my previous example is found in the car and not on any one person their admission that it’s theirs is proof that they did possess it. A possessing can be actual which is in your hand or on your person or constructive. Constructive possession means that the drug is within your reach or under your control.
Either manner of possession, either actual or constructive is enough to get a conviction for possession so the mistake of admitting the drugs are yours when they’re not on your person is the most obvious situation that I see.
It is a Serious Mistake to Consent to an Unwarranted Police Search of Your Vehicle
The other common mistake people make is to agree to allow the police to search them or their vehicle. Unless police have reasonable suspicion or probable cause they have no right to search and if you refuse to let them search and they search anyway, that search is unlawful and that evidence can be suppressed if you’re charged. It’s always important to refuse an officer’s request to search you or your vehicle.