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Polinske & Associates, P.C.

Cannabis Trafficking Charge - Your Best Defense

The scenario is almost always the same.  You are driving through Madison County, Illinois on Interstates 55 or 70.  Your car has out of state license plates.  The Illinois State Police or municipal police perform a traffic stop upon your vehicle.  They claim you followed too closely or were speeding.  You may not have been violating a traffic law at the time.  The officer acts friendly enough.  But his demeanor quickly changes to focus not on the alleged traffic violation, but instead upon where you are headed, when did you leave, whose car is it, why did you drive and not fly across the country, why do you have air fresheners in the vehicle.  The officer will then politely advise you are receiving a written warning, or citation, and tell you that you may leave the scene.  Then, just as you begin to walk to your car, he asks you a question - "Do you mind if I search your car?"  You may not know the correct answer.  You may flat out tell the officer that it is not okay for him to search.  The officer may make you wait until a K-9 arrives on scene to conduct a sniff search.  After the search you are charged with either Possession with Intent or Cannabis Trafficking.  You are taken to jail and questioned. You may be told that "if you help us we can help you."  You ultimately must post a large bond and worry about how best to resolve this legal problem.
 
To make matters worse, you are now facing at least 6-30 years in prison if convicted and perhaps up to 60 years in enhanced cases.
 
 
YOUR ATTORNEY MUST IDENTIFY THE ISSUES THAT CAN WIN YOUR CASE
 
We are well aware of the intricacies surrounding cannabis trafficking and possession with intent to deliver charges.  In fact, in almost every traffic stop, there exists at least one or two major deficiencies that can result in suppression of all the evidence against you.  Each case is factually different.  But the main problems the police face in these circumstances are: 
 

1.  Bad Initial Stop. The driver's and sometimes passengers' Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizure have been violated by conducting a traffic stop based upon something other than what is called "reasonable suspicion."  

2. Nonconsensual Search of the Vehicle.  An officer sometimes will search a vehicle with no probable cause and without consent from the driver or owner.  In these cases, the search may again be violative of the client's Fourth Amendment rights.

3. Sniff Search using an Uncertified K-9.  Sometimes the K-9 used is noncurrent in their training.  Various statutes require this certificate that must be issued by the ILTSB.  This requirement remains in effect even after Florida v. Harris.

4. Prolonged Prearrest Detention.  Another way in which the officers can open the door to suppression is by detaining the client after such time when he/she should have been allowed to leave.  This detention time triggers the Fourth Amendment's protection.

5. New SCOTUS ruling in Rodriguez v. US - This recent ruling is extremely important whenever a non-consensual vehicle search occurs.  The new case has given a "bright line" rule that makes unconstitutional all non-consensual stops that are prolonged after the time which the officer should have issued a citation/warning and allowed the motorist to be on his way.

 

ALWAYS BRIEF JUDGES ON THE RELEVANT CASE LAW

These issues are very common.  An experienced attorney will first identify the problem areas, flesh out the facts through complete discovery, and attack them with a Motion to Suppress Evidence.  A fact finding hearing is conducted and legal arguments made.  We typically brief the judges at the hearing's conclusion.  Although we have judges dedicated to only criminal matters I am surprised by what subtopics they are unaware of.  As an example, I conducted a hearing a few months ago and raised the case of People v. Gayton which held that an officer's traffic stop of a motorist for an obstructed registration plate was violative of the motorist's Fourth Amendment rights.  I assumed all criminal court judges knew the import of that case.  After the hearing, the judge told me that she had not heard of that case prior to my briefing the court.  I always presume the judge's are not familiar with the legal issue being raised.  I include the important legal positions supported by authority in my briefs.  

We win many serious drug trafficking cases on Motions to Suppress.  I've practiced over twenty five years in this field on the defense side.  I am shocked how many attorneys fail to recognize these very important issues.  I believe it is why I have been so much more successful than most other attorneys in the criminal defense field.  Not every case can be won.  But not trying to attack the State's evidence puts the State in a position whereby they won't negotiate the best deal my clients are entitled to.  And, I win the majority of these hearings.

 

CHOOSE YOUR DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAREFULLY

Be careful who you hire in your serious drug offense felony case.  As an example of how two different attorneys can attack the same set of facts I use a case where my client was driving his co-defendant's car in Collinsville on I-55.  The car had out of state plates.  The officer claimed he stopped the vehicle based on an alleged lane violation.  The co-defendant hired another local attorney.  The co-defendant plead guilty and was convicted only three months into the case.  I was shocked because I had been pushing the State to produce the dash-cam footage from the cruiser.  The co-defendant's attorney did not attempt to obtain and review the evidence.  Eventually, I obtained the dash-cam footage.  I immediately spotted a fatal deficiency with the stop.  I filed my motion to suppress and prepared a brief on my client's behalf.  We appeared in court ready to argue the case.  Before we called the first witness the prosecutor dismissed all charges.  He told me that he had viewed the video and agreed with my assessment.  My client's friend called me the next day and asked if I could represent him.  I told him that his case was already closed and unfortunately I could do nothing for him.  

Don't make the same mistake.  Call us to discuss your case.

 

WE CAN RESOLVE YOUR CASE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE MANNER

Let our 46 years of success defending people charged with Cannabis Trafficking or Cannabis Possession with Intent work for you.  You can rest assured that we understand the impact the charge has upon you and your families.  We understand how important it is to get the case dismissed if at all possible.  We strive to move forward towards dismissal at a steady pace.  Call us today for a free consultation on this important charge.

 

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