If you have been charged with any of the following, contact my office immediately:
- Drug Possession
- Drug Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute
- Drug Possession at a School
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Manufacture or Cultivation
- Drug Conspiracy
- Federal Drug Charges
- Gang-Related Drug Offenses
- Prescription Fraud
- Drug Paraphernalia
Determining what defenses you may have involves both factual understanding of the case and a command over the legal issues. Attorney John E. Choate has handled Possession cases for over twenty years, conducting research and filing Motions to Suppress for illegal stops and illegal searches.
Is it a misdemeanor or a felony?
Whether the drug is illegal depends on which penalty group it falls in. The Health and Safety Code defines four groups in Chapter 481.102 of the Texas Controlled Substance Act. It covers everything from marijuana to cocaine and beyond. Quantity levels determine if it is a misdemeanor or a felony.
Possession and Types of Defense
What does Possession mean? Possession of any illegal substance has certain elements the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
The Prosecutor has to prove
- knowledge of the existence of the substance, and
- control of the substance
In a knowledge defense: You’re riding in a car with someone else. Somewhere in that car–perhaps under the seat or in the ashtray–someone placed an illegal substance. That location is within your control, but you did not have knowledge of the substance. You are not guilty because you had no knowledge of the illegal substance.
In a control defense: You’re riding in a car when a person gets in and asks whether you want to smoke a joint. You say no. Then the vehicle gets pulled over. You had knowledge of the marijuana but you had no control. You are not guilty because you had no control over the illegal substance.
John E. Choate attorney at law has handled these kinds of cases over twenty years of practice and tried possession cases from minor marijuana to large cocaine cases with results of cases dismissed and the accused found not guilty.
Illegal Stops and Searches
Police Right to Stop:
Did the Police have a right to stop you?
The United States Constitution and Texas Constitution protect individuals from arbitrary stops or detention unless there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. As simple as that may sound, it is an over-simplification; there are volumes of legal books written on this issue as well as numerous State and Federal cases. You need and deserve an experienced attorney who can understand, research, and argue your case. If the Court determines the Police did not have a right to stop, your case may be dismissed.
Police Right to Search:
Did the Police have a right to search you, your vehicle, or your house?
The Police or State cannot arbitrarily search you, your vehicle, or your house. The law is very complicated in this area and requires application of your facts to case law and statutes. Generally speaking, if the Police conducted a search without a warrant, you feel they had no reason to search, and you did not give them consent, you may have a reason to challenge the search. If the Court determines the Police did not have a right to search, your case may be dismissed.