Drug possession in the state of Mississippi is a crime which offers stiff sentences and little chance of leniency. The laws are just extremely tough on drug offenders. As a general rule, the greater the quantity of the drug, and the more dangerous or addictive the drug is, the greater the penalty will be. There will also be enhanced punishment for factors such as possessing a firearm, being inside a car, or having children present.
Here’s an example of the severity of Mississippi drug laws: having 30 grams of marijuana (just over one ounce) can get you up to 20 years. Having just small amounts of harder drugs such as cocaine can get you up to 30 years. With the penalties so great, it is important for a person charged with a drug offense to 1) seek out an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, and 2) explore all options for challenging the case or resolving it favorably.
All drug possession cases should begin with an analysis of how the police discovered the drugs. This is called probable cause. In order to seize a citizen and search them, the police must have probable cause to believe that some criminal activity is afoot. In drug cases, this usually means a search of an individual, their car, or their home. The search may be with a warrant, but is frequently without one.
So the first question to ask is: did the police have probable cause to search for the drugs? If it can be shown that the police did not, the drugs can be suppressed from evidence and the case essentially thrown out. But this is not easy. Analyzing probable cause means looking at what information the police had at the time they began the search and seizure. Where did the officers get their information? Was it from something they observed? Was it from an anonymous tip or confidential informant? Did the accused give permission for the search and was it given voluntarily and without coercion? These are just some of the questions to ask.
Another, more basic question is: were the drugs yours, and did you know of their presence? If you can prove that the answer to either or both of these is “no” then that may help you in challenging your Mississippi drug case.
Analyzing probable cause is going to depend greatly on the facts of the case. It is often very subtle factual distinctions that make the difference. And if you’re going to challenge the case you must be ready to litigate it fully, meaning having a suppression hearing and maybe also a trial. But in cases where the constitutional violation is obvious and grave, this may be the right thing to do.
Patrick Stegall is a Southaven drug possession lawyer. He has seven years of experience in state and federal courts, trying criminal cases large and small. His number one commitment is to providing the best representation to his clients, and communicating with them every step of the way. If you have been charged with drug possession in Mississippi, contact Mr. Stegall at (901) 205-9894 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.