THEY FOUND DRUGS/GUNS IN THE CAR...

By Drew Stephens from San Mateo, CA (Searching the car) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Drew Stephens from San Mateo, CA (Searching the car) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

...or in your house, or on you. First, don't panic. Second, you should really CALL MY OFFICE.

If I could do only one kind of criminal case, it would be cases involving guns and drugs. That's because these cases are never simple. There is always something to talk about. But they are also constitutionally important. By their very nature, gun and drugs cases often implicate our basic rights as citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. These are your rights and mine, and they are worth protecting.    

DRUG/GUN POSSESSION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Possession Cases - Can the State Prove it?

Whether we are talking drugs or guns, these cases generally ask whether the government can prove that you were in knowing "possession" of an item prohibited by law. Under Indiana law, there are two ways to prove possession of something. Firstly, the State may seek to prove "actual possession" by showing that an accused person had direct physical control over a prohibited item. However, the State may also make it's case by proving that an accused person had "constructive possession" of something beyond a reasonable doubt. To make a case for constructive possession, the State must show that a defendant had both an intent as well as the capability to maintain dominion and control over the contraband item. This is obviously a much harder case for the government to make. What if there are multiple people found near the guns or drugs?  What if there's only one person found with the drugs but the State cannot show that the defendant knew the drugs or gun were there? These cases are all unique and complex in their own way. At the Law Office of Jesse K. Sanchez, your attorney will know how to analyze the case to determine what evidence the State really has against you. For a more information don't hesitate to CONTACT ME.  

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SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE

Be Aware that You Might Have a Valid Argument to Suppress Evidence

While arguments to suppress evidence are often quite complicated, all "motions to suppress" essentially claim that the rights of the accused person were violated in some fundamental way and, therefore, any evidence gained from the violation should be excluded from evidence or "suppressed."

It's a controversial technique, because it can take evidence that makes a defendant look "obviously guilty" and get it thrown right out of court. But, the idea here is to deter police misconduct. And, this is exactly what the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution demands in it's guarantee when it states that: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  What's more, under the Indiana Constitution, Article I, Section 11, citizens are protected by even stronger guarantees.

So, was there probable cause for the search warrant of your home? Did the officer have the right to search your vehicle? Did the officer have the right to stop you at all? These are the kinds of questions we ask in a suppression case. To learn more about a potential suppression in your case, CONTACT ME. 

DRUG DEALING CASES

What is the quality of the State's evidence?

In drug dealing cases, the State often has to prove something in addition to simple possession (actual or constructive) of a drug. Frequently, the State is required to show that the defendant had an "intent to deliver" drugs in his possession (though, to be clear, there are other ways to make a drug dealing case, such as financing the manufacture or delivery of a drug). This is an interesting element because, to show an intent to deliver, the government must essentially prove what a defendant would have done with drugs at a future time.

How can we know what someone would have done with something in the future?  Well, we can't know anyone's future intent with 100% certainty. There's simply no way to measure someone's intent directly. At best, we can make good guesses about a person's intent based on the surrounding circumstances. This kind of indirect evidence is called circumstantial evidence.  

For example, if you watch me walk to Starbucks and stand in line, you can make a pretty good guess that my intent is to buy coffee. Can you be certain? No. All of your evidence is indirect, circumstantial. Plus, you could be wrong. Maybe I know the cashier and just wanted to say hi. Maybe I was there to apply for a job.

This is what makes drug dealing cases so nuanced and interesting to analyze. They're frequently chock full of circumstantial evidence, just like in the Starbucks example. The amounts of drugs, the way they are packaged, whether the defendant had money on him and in what amount. The problem with this kind of evidence is that it's always subject to a different interpretation. Just because you saw me standing in line, does not mean I was going to buy coffee. Similarly, just because I had some quantity of cocaine does not mean I was going to sell it. That's the problem with circumstantial evidence.

If you've been charged with Drug Dealing, please contact me for help. I would be happy to sit down with you to discuss the matter.