Three suspects face drug charges for the criminal possession of heroin and cocaine tied to actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death in early February. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
According to a CNN news article, one of the defendant’s bail was set to nearly a quarter of a million dollars. He was arraigned on three counts of heroin possession.
Another defendant filed a motion requesting judicial diversion through the drug diversion court, a court that is part of the New York State Supreme Court. If the motion is accepted, the defendant will be evaluated for drug treatment for heroin addiction, and the charges could eventually be dropped.
The three defendants were arrested earlier in February as police were investigating the drugs found in Hoffman’s New York City apartment. Hoffman was an Academy Award-winning actor who died of an apparent overdose of heroin early last month.
According to the article, police found nearly 50 packets of what is believed to be heroin in Hoffman’s apartment and immediately sought out the source of the drugs. A few days later, the three defendants were arrested in Manhattan, and bags of heroine with the same label as Hoffman’s were found at their apartment.
If all three of the people facing drug charges have pleaded not guilty, but illegal drugs were found in their possession, how will they be defended?
Always remember that, in any criminal case, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Defenses for drug possession always depend on the nature of the criminal charges and the circumstances of the case.
The attorneys for the defendants may have several valid defense strategies.
- Evidence of drug possession cannot be submitted if the police did not have a valid warrant when they searched the apartment where the drugs were found.
- If the drugs belong to another person, this could be a valid defense. However, it can be difficult to prove that the drugs did not belong to the person charged with possession. Even then, “constructive possession” laws can sometimes allow a person to be convicted even if the drugs were not his.
- If the defendants were forced to carry or hold drugs for someone else, and it can be proven that they were not voluntarily in possession of the drugs, then a defense can be made. An example of this would be if the person’s life was threatened in order to coerce him or her into transporting or keeping drugs for a dealer.
The more dangerous the controlled substance in possession is, the more serious the charges will be. Drug possession charges can range from simple misdemeanors to very serious felonies.
When it comes to criminal defenses for drug cases, each state has different laws. One case is never the same as another. If you have any concerns about drug possession charges, you should contact an experienced Riverside criminal defense attorney.
Photo credit: Flickr contirbutor, Andres Rodriguez