Q: I was a passenger in a vehicle. We stopped to pump gas and I was in the store with the driver. When we came out of the store an officer called the driver over to him for an arrest warrant. The car was searched, and a syringe and 1 stamp bag were found. I was released. The driver is now claiming it was mine. Can I be charged? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Yes, you can be charged. Can you be convicted? It depends on the facts. Where contraband is found in a car that both occupants had access to, it is difficult for the Commonwealth to convict one of the occupants if both are denying. Him owning the car works in your favor. If the contraband was found in the glove box or in the consul, that works in your favor. If under your seat, that works in his favor. Consult with a criminal defense attorney and be prepared for your Preliminary Hearing.
Q: My sister used heroin before I picked her up. She went out in my car I stopped and a car behind me called 911. The guy in the car was helping to get her breathing I was looking for her Narcan. We have Narcan in her purse, in my mother’s home and in her car. In her purse was needles and I never touched them. When a probation officer searched her stuff, a needle fell out her purse onto a busy road. When the fireman found the needle, the cop charged me with tampering with evidence. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: There is a reason. Their reason will be printed in the Affidavit of Probable Cause section of the Police Complaint, you should have received or will be receiving. It normally gives an explanation as to what the accuser/Affiant saw that prompted the charge. I advise reading this instead of calling the officer directly as you should not make any statements. My other suggestion is to find a lawyer for your Preliminary Hearing so that you can extricate yourself from this situation. I would need to review the charges and the Affidavit of Probable Cause to determine what they say your criminal conduct is.
Q. Can I pursue probation without verdict? The house I was staying at was raided. I am a student who was living in the dorms last semester, had a lease signed for a house beginning June 1st. Between then I was living at my friend’s house, and also my girlfriend’s house. Found in the house that was raided was 7lbs of marijuana, Xanax, and five ounces MDMA. I was charged with everything possession of the three and intent to deliver marijuana and MDMA. The marijuana and Xansa was in a safe and was not mine. I had no contact with it at all. Three ounces of MDMA belonged to me. However, lab tests will confirm that it is not MDMA. I believe it will come up as a synthetic cathinone. A warrant is out for the owner of the marijuana and Xanax. I was told those charges will be dropped from me as soon as he confesses to owning them.
A. You need a lawyer. I would have an attorney evaluate the legality of the search and the law of possession as it applies to these specific facts. You may have viable legal defense issues that even if they may not guarantee a win down the road at trial, may push the DA to offer an acceptable deal. A deal that results in no conviction for you is the goal. As you may know, a drug conviction will stay on your criminal history forever and will result in a driver’s license suspension. It will require good old fashion legal work-fighting the case but simultaneously badgering the DA for a deal for kid with no criminal history. Probation Without Verdict could also be a possibility for you, but it will take a lot of legal work and not merely asking the DA or police for mercy.