Cobb County Drug Possession Lawyer
Drug trafficking arrests are usually large scale operations. Multiple law enforcement agencies, usually in different counties and sometimes in different states, work for months to build cases against “head of the hydra” drug traffickers. These cases have their own set of issues. Drug possession matters, on the other hand, almost always involve small amounts of marijuana, heroin, fentanyl, or another controlled substance that officers seize during a traffic stop or at a disturbance call. These matters have weaknesses as well, as outlined below.
Generally, prosecutors are determined to use drug possession cases to “clean up the streets.” Defendants need an equally determined Cobb County drug possession lawyer, like Andrew Schwartz, on their side. Prosecutors zealously represent the counties or other jurisdictions they speak for. Defense attorneys zealously represent clients. Only a zealous attorney can successfully resolve drug possession and other criminal cases. Other lawyers often lose heart, and their clients pay the price.
The Three Ps of Possession
Drug possession accounts for about 80 percent of the drug arrests in Cobb County. But these cases often do not end with convictions, mostly because of the three Ps of drug possession, which are:
- Produce the Substance in Court: Physical evidence, like illegal drugs, is only admissible in court if the seizure was lawful under the Fourth Amendment. If officers did not have a search warrant, and they usually don’t in these cases, the state must prove that consent, plain view, or another narrow search warrant exception applied.
- Prove the Substance Was Illegal: Some people may remember the 2019 incident involving Georgia State quarterback Shai Wertz. Officers arrested him for possession of cocaine. A subsequent chemical test revealed that the “cocaine” was bird poop. Furthermore, the controlled substances list changes frequently. The substance might not have been on the prohibited list at the time of the arrest.
- Establish Possession: Legally, possession has three elements, proximity, knowledge, and control. Proximity is usually easy to establish. But a Cobb County drug possession lawyer can often successfully challenge the other two elements. If Mike was a first-time guest at a house and officers found drugs in a locked closet, prosecutors would be hard-pressed to establish knowledge and control.
Prosecutors must establish each one of these elements beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s one of the highest burdens of proof in Georgia law.
Resolving Drug Possession Charges
Sometimes, an attorney uses these defenses at trial. Much more often, however, an attorney leverages them during plea bargaining sessions. Plea negotiations resolve about 95 percent of the criminal cases in Cobb County. These agreements usually involve charge reductions and/or sentence reductions.
Deferred disposition, a special kind of probation, is usually available in these cases. The defendant pleads guilty, but the judge does not enter a finding of guilt. Then, if the defendant successfully completes probation, the judge dismisses the case. So, the defendant does not have a conviction on his/her permanent record.
This form of probation also has some significant cons. Therefore, only the most experienced lawyers should negotiate such agreements.
Work With a Hard-Hitting Cobb County Lawyer
Criminal cases have procedural and substantive defenses. For a free consultation with an experienced drug possession lawyer in Cobb County, contact Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. We routinely handle matters in Fulton County and nearby jurisdictions.