A lot of drug charges stem from narcotics being seized during a search of an individual’s car or his or her person. If you’re facing criminal charges stemming from one of these searches, then you might be worried about what the future has in store for you. After all, a criminal conviction could send you to jail or prison, force hefty fines upon you, and leave a mar on your criminal record that can haunt you for a significant period of time to come. But even if the evidence against you seems insurmountable, you might have criminal defense options.

Were you illegally searched?

The U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Therefore, the police are generally required to obtain a search warrant before they can search you, your home, or your vehicle. There are some exceptions to this general rule, though, such as searches that occur after arrest and seizing drugs and weapons that are in plain view. However, if law enforcement’s search of you or your vehicle don’t fall into these narrowly defined exceptions, then you might be able to get the evidence that was seized thrown out. This can completely derail the prosecution’s case.

Another consideration to make is the purpose of law enforcement’s stop in the first place. Criminal courts recognize the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, meaning that any legal actions taken after an illegal one are tainted and therefore deemed illegal. So, even if a police officer recovers narcotics from your vehicle after a legally authorized search, you might be able to suppress that evidence if the traffic stop that led to the search was illegal. This means that law enforcement didn’t have reason to believe that you were violating any law at the time of the stop.

You need to know the law to have it on your side

Those who know the law are the best able to exploit it to their benefit. Therefore, to protect yourself as fully as possible, you need to know what laws apply to your case and base arguments around them. An attorney who knows how to fight back against aggressive prosecutors might be able to help you build the strong criminal defense you need to be successful in confronting the charges you’re facing.