Search, Seizure & Drug Charges

Drug Charges Defense Lawyer in St. Paul

Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorney Serving the Twin Cities

If you have been charged with a crime involving drugs, having a lawyer with extensive experience successfully defending drug charges is critical. Mark D. Kelly has achieved dismissals and not-guilty verdicts for countless Minnesotans charged with controlled substance related charges and he can help you as well.

Levels of Drug Crimes or “Controlled Substance Charges”

There is a huge variance in penalties that will result from drug charges based on the severity of the charge. Minnesota has five different degrees of drug charges based on the amount of drugs, the classification of the drug, and whether you were caught simply possessing the drug, or in the act of selling or manufacturing the drug.

Drug Charges Carry Very Serious Penalties

With few exceptions involving marijuana, most controlled substance charges can (and will - without legal help) result in felony charges. The penalties associated with drug crimes are severe - it is possible to be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for a first-degree conviction. Having legal counsel on your side is very important if you intend to pursue the best possible outcome to your case.

Search, Seizure, The Right to Privacy and Drug Charges

When a person is facing drug charges it’s very common for the defense lawyer to try to challenge the search methods used by the police or other law enforcement. The definition of possession is very straightforward, so the best defense is usually to challenge the search, work to get the evidence suppressed based on an illegal search, and get the charges dismissed. Mark D. Kelly has an excellent track record of getting charges dismissed based on lazy, questionable or downright illegal police work. That said, each case is unique, and no lawyer can tell you exactly how YOUR case will turn out. Contact our office today to talk about the specifics of your case.

When Can Police Search? Where Can Police Search?

Since challenging the search can be a very effective defense for drug charges, let’s talk a little bit about when, where and why police are allowed to search you.

If The Police Have a Search Warrant

If the police show up at your house with a warrant, you really do not have much of a choice but to let them search the areas designated on the warrant. Keep a copy of the warrant so that you can make sure that it is not violated. Any search and seizure warrant will be limited to:

  • Area (where police can and can not search)
  • Amount of Time (they are not allowed to search your home for an unlimited amount of time)
  • When they Can Execute the Warrant (when it expires)
  • What illegal items or person they are searching for

Generally speaking if the police obtained and executed the warrant correctly, the evidence will likely be used in court. However there are also situations where a warrantless search is allowed; like during a vehicle pullover or if evidence is in “plain view” of the officer. Warrantless searches tend to rely heavily on the police officer’s instinct and decision-making and can be called into question in court. Situations where police are allowed to perform a warrantless search include:

  • When the Officer Receives Permission / The Suspect waives their 4th amendment rights
  • When the evidence is in “Plain View” of the officer
  • In the case of a life or someone’s safety being at risk
  • When searching after a lawful arrest to locate / prevent the destruction of evidence.

Search and seizure issues are generally the framework of a good defense for drug charges. Having an attorney on your side with experience in challenging searches is critical when pursuing the best possible outcome after a drug-related arrest. Mark D. Kelly has been successfully defending people charged with drug crimes for years. Call his office to learn more about how he can help you.

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