Drug charges in Colorado carry severe penalties. You could spend several years in prison and suffer other consequences if convicted. Therefore, you will need an experienced defense lawyer to help reduce the negative impact a criminal charge can have on your life.
Boulder drug charge lawyer Michael Ferrell and his team with The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, have the courtroom experience you need to help protect your rights. Michael honed his courtroom skills when he served as a deputy district attorney. He prosecuted many cases in his time with the district attorney’s office. Now, he uses his skills and insights to fight for the rights of people like you.
Why You Need a Drug Charge Defense Attorney in Boulder
You are vulnerable when you have drug charges pending against you. Even seemingly minor charges like possession of a narcotic have the potential to upend your life. More serious charges like manufacturing or selling illegal drugs can carry long prison sentences and long stretches of probation or parole.
Catching a drug case in Colorado does not mean you will go to prison. Judges in Colorado have some latitude to put you on probation instead of sending you to jail. Representation from a highly skilled and well-trained drug charge lawyer puts you in a better position to avoid prison.
An experienced Boulder drug charge lawyer knows how to effectively fight for a reduced sentence. By having a sterling reputation as a competent defense lawyer, Michael Ferrell has earned the respect of prosecutors in Boulder and the surrounding areas. His professional relationships may give you an edge with plea bargains.
If negotiating a plea bargain is not in your best interest, Michael is fully prepared to fight your charges by taking the case to trial.
What Are the Best Defenses for a Drug Charge?
Several legal issues commonly arise in drug cases. A skilled defense lawyer will take a close look at the facts of your case to determine your best defense, which may include one of the following common issues.
Search and Seizure Violations
The conduct of police investigators is always an important issue in drug cases. Peace officers must follow strict rules to avoid violating your constitutional rights—such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means the police cannot barge into your house and start searching unless they have a search warrant. There are rare exceptions to the warrant rule, such as when a true emergency requires immediate entry. But other than that, there must be a search warrant that is supported by probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is in your home. In drug cases, this usually means probable cause to believe that contraband, like drugs, will be found in the place where the police want to search.
Freedom from unlawful searches also means the police cannot pull your car over and search you or your belongings for no reason. For example, the police can pull you over if you run a red light. But they cannot rip your car apart to look for drugs just because you ran a red light.
Successfully arguing that the police violated your rights leads to suppression of the evidence from trial. That suppression can often lead to a motion to dismiss, as discussed below.
Motion to Dismiss
Courts hear motions to suppress evidence before trials. Even if you lose your motion, you still have the right to go to trial. At a trial, the State has the burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But if you win your motion to suppress evidence, the prosecutor might not have enough evidence to go to trial. If this situation sounds like your case, you might have solid grounds to file a motion to dismiss.
In a motion to dismiss, your lawyer would argue that there is insufficient evidence to allow your case to go forward.
Reasonable Doubt: The Prosecutor Did Not Meet Their Burden of Proof
An experienced and skilled drug crime lawyer knows how to build a strong trial defense if your case gets that far. Reasonable doubt is one of the defenses you might be able to rely on to win your case.
In every criminal trial, the prosecution has the burden to prove every element of the charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt as to any element of the crime, the jury should find you not guilty. You do not have to prove anything, meaning you have no burden to prove yourself innocent.
So a strong defense at times can be simple. Your lawyer can argue that the State failed to prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, suppose the State charges you with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. A skilled lawyer could successfully argue that the amount of cocaine in your possession is more consistent with personal use than sale and distribution. Or if the police did not find any packaging material, your lawyer could argue that there is reasonable doubt that you intended to sell the drugs because you can’t sell cocaine without something to package it in.
One defense is arguing that the State cannot prove you possessed the drugs.
Possession can be actual, like holding the drugs in your hand or in your pocket, or it can be constructive. Constructive possession means knowing the substance is present and intending to exercise dominion over it. Leaving your phone on your nightstand to charge while you are in the living room is an example of constructive possession. You know the phone is there, and you exercise control over it. Therefore, you constructively possess it, even though it is not on your person. The same would hold true for drugs.
Let’s look at an example. Suppose you and a friend were in your car when drugs were found in a bag on the back seat. Technically, the cops really don’t know if the drugs are yours or your friends—or someone else’s who borrowed your car yesterday. In the absence of other evidence suggesting the drugs are yours, you might have a successful argument that the State failed to prove that you possessed the drugs beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sometimes police coerce someone into committing a crime they were not otherwise predisposed to commit. If an agent of the police, like a confidential informant, asks you to hold drugs and the cops bust you for holding the informant’s drugs, you might be able to claim entrapment.
Contact a Drug Charge Lawyer in Boulder, CO
In Boulder and the surrounding areas, The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, is the team you can trust to give you the best chance of getting a good outcome in your criminal case. Contact Michael and his staff today at 720-687-2795 to get started protecting your rights and your freedom.