Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects residents from unreasonable search and seizure of their property by law enforcement. The legal remedy for a defendant whose constitutional rights are violated in this context is the exclusion of any evidence found in such a search from their criminal prosecution. Although this rule seems straightforward and beneficial to Americans who are accused of crimes, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are known to violate this rule and usually do all they can to admit evidence collected as a result of illegal searches. A Texas appellate court recently reversed a lower court decision allowing evidence to be admitted against a drug defendant that had come from an illegal search.

In the recently decided case, the defendant was stopped by an officer for operating a motor vehicle without registration tags. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant stopped his vehicle in a well-lit area near a gas station and was outside of the vehicle when the officer approached him. After making contact with the defendant, the officer requested that he put his hands behind his back so he could perform a “pat down” for weapons. As the officer attempted to put his hands inside one of the defendant’s pockets, the defendant began to resist, breaking free from the officer and fleeing behind a dumpster. The officer followed the defendant, placing him under arrest and finding a small bag of drugs on the ground, which was presumably dropped by the defendant after he was out of the officer’s line of sight.

The defendant was arrested and charged for drug possession. Before trial, the defendant challenged the admission of the drug evidence against him, arguing that he did not consent to a search and that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to reach into his pocket during the pat down. The prosecution claimed that the search was legal and consented to by the defendant, and even if it was an illegal search that the defendant’s own conduct in fleeing from the officer and throwing the drugs on the ground himself meant that the evidence was not found in the course of the search. The trial court accepted the prosecution’s arguments and ultimately convicted the defendant and sentenced him to 5 years of incarceration.

While Texas has taken some small steps in light of the national shift towards the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, the drug is largely still illegal except for those with a valid prescription. The continued prohibition on marijuana possession—even in small amounts—has led many to seek out legal alternatives to marijuana. However, as lawmakers catch on to these new substances, they quickly respond by passing new laws and using existing laws to prosecute these look-alike drugs.

What Is Delta 8?

Delta 8, or Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of about 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant. While Delta 8 is a naturally occurring substance, cannabis plants produce only a minimal amount of Delta 8. Delta 8 provides a similar “high” to smoking or ingesting marijuana. However, when someone consumes marijuana in its traditional form, it is Delta 9 THC that creates the intoxicating effect. However, taking Delta 8 will cause the user to test positive on a drug test.

Because marijuana plants produce so little Delta 8, most Delta 8 products are created using hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). Currently, at least for now, Delta 8 products are available in smoke shops and CBD stores across Texas for customers over the age of 21. However, the legality of Delta has recently been called into question.

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The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect defendants from unreasonable searches and seizures of themselves, their homes, and their property. Evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used against a defendant at trial. Thus, defendants who can prove that the evidence used against them was collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment may be entitled to the dismissal of the charges against them.

The Texas Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal by the State of Texas that challenged the suppression of evidence obtained against a defendant who had been accused of possession of drugs. The defendant in the recently decided case was driving a vehicle when he was recognized by a law enforcement officer as a known criminal offender. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the officer began to follow the defendant and witnessed him commit a traffic violation as he pulled into a gas station. The officer pulled behind the defendant and signaled him to stop, at which point the defendant exited his vehicle and behaved suspiciously. The officer engaged with the defendant and notified him that he was stopped for a minor traffic violation. The officer asked the defendant for consent to search his person and vehicle, which the defendant initially gave.

After another officer arrived on the scene, the defendant revoked the consent to search his vehicle and made statements suggesting that the officers were going to get a canine unit to search his car. As a result of the defendant’s statements, the officers called a canine unit, which took 38 minutes to arrive. The canine unit alerted the officers to the presence of marijuana in the car, which was ultimately found after a search was performed. As a result of the drugs being found, the defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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