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Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
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The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog

Marijuana Charge Dismissed

Adam Banner - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

We were able to secure another dismissal of a marijuana possession charge this week.

Our client was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after a friend in her home began experiencing symptoms of a drug overdose (which were more than likely not due to the pot...). The client called 911 to seek assistance for her friend, and the officers arrived at the scene and made their way into the home. I think everyone can see where the story goes from here.

Usually, any warrantless search is a violation of an individual's Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights. In this case, officers were able to get inside the home without a search warrant due to an exception to the warrant requirement known as "exigent circumstances," which allows law enforcement to evade the warrant requirement when there is a know emergency they are tending to. However, the exception  should end once the emergency has been addressed, yet sometimes officers overstep those boundaries.

Granted, sometimes one warrant exception can lead to another, and you will see a causal chain of events that allows law enforcement to continue its investigation when it normally would not have the ability absent probable cause or a warrant. Many times, we as criminal defense attorneys see law enforcement respond to a situation that originally involves exigent circumstances but ultimately ends with an officer observing some contraband or crime occurring within his or her "plain view"...this is another exception to the warrant requirement.

Obviously, if an officer is some place that he or she has a lawful (and Constitutionally sufficient) right to be, her or she is not required to turn a blind eye (or ear...or nose....) to criminal activity or contraband that is within that officer's normal range of perception. If law enforcement is able to employ the plain view doctrine, than it is likely that the causal chain of exceptions could possibly continue.

Regardless, enough with the search and seizure review for now. Officers found marijuana in the home, and we were able to show the prosecution that our client did not knowingly and willingly possess the marijuana. Always remember that mere proximity to a controlled dangerous substance is simply not enough. If you hire an accomplished attorney, he or she can sometimes show the prosecution that actual possession did not occur. The argument may still leave open the inference of constructive possession, but that is an explanation for another day. The good news is that our client's case was dismissed, and the actual owner of the marijuana was held responsible.

 






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