Do I Need an Attorney if Marijuana is Found in My Friend’s Trunk?
Being a passenger in a vehicle where drugs are discovered is unnerving to say the least. Knowing how to handle it and what to do to protect your rights can address some of the anxiety associated with this experience. Read on to learn more about what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.
Engaging with Police
You need to Have a Plan for Interacting with Police (read the article). Now. Unless you educate yourself, you will be your own worst enemy in a situation where you are absolutely innocent. You need to understand how to act in an encounter with police amounting to an Interrogation (read the article) and the how and why to Invoke Your Rights (read the article). Educate yourself to reduce the chances you may actually have to hire an attorney.
If police discovered drugs in a car where you were merely a passenger, it is possible you could be charged. As best as you can, gather all the facts, names of witnesses who may have been present, but only discuss them directly with your own criminal defense attorney. When drugs are found in a car and they belong to someone else, you need to take extra care to defend yourself as the odds of being charged depend mostly on the police officer involved and the statements of anyone in the car with you.
As you collect the information, consider the following questions:
- Has anyone else used the car recently?
- Who else has access and opportunity to use the car?
- Do you know how the drugs came to be in the car?
- Do you have the contact information for any witnesses who might know this information?
- Do you have a theory about why the drugs are in the car or how they got there?
One of the biggest challenges in presenting a “not mine” defense is that police and prosecutors often hear the excuse “this belonged to my friend”. Consider, even someone you thought was a friend could be using this as their own defense by claiming that the drugs actually belonged to you.
Share the Details of the Arrest
The conduct of the police before and during the arrest is important as to whether evidence was collected legally. This is why you need to speak to your criminal defense attorney to determine whether a search was conducted lawfully and whether any evidence that was taken is actually admissible in court. Police in Arizona cannot search a vehicle without probable cause, but you should discuss the specifics of whether your case applies directly with your defense lawyer.
Determine Whether You Should Speak to the Prosecutor
It might be difficult to convince a jury or judge that you are not guilty because of the evidence and statements gathered by police. In these situations, it might be worth meeting with your criminal defense lawyer to consider consulting with prosecutors. You might be able to share your concerns, perhaps offer to take a polygraph test. Showing that you are serious about proving your innocence could be helpful in avoiding a criminal conviction, but it is not a guarantee.
This type of situation can be overwhelming and frustrating, but it is important that you take steps to protect yourself from the beginning as here described, and by meeting with your criminal defense attorney at your first opportunity. You need advice and guidance about how to best protect your interests and so that you can protect your rights and your future.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Marijuana In My Friend’s Trunk, or other criminal defense issues, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Defense Attorney, Michael Kielsky at 480.461.5309, log on to www.mycriminaldefenselawyeraz.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.