my friend said he didn't have anything illegal in his possession, but apparently that was a lie. he had a controlled substance called "hash" in a backpack of his, which was in my backseat. cops asked me if i had anything i shouldnt in the car before searching it, i said no, thinking there wasn't anything in the car. my friend has a previous record because he was caught selling drugs a year ago. i have no record & i've never been in any type of trouble before this. the cop asked me if it was my bag, and i said no because it wasn't. they asked my friend the same question and he said he didn't know whose bag it was. anyway, i got cuffed & went to jail. his fingerprints are all over the backpack/utensils used to smoke with.
You should be worried because there is no guarantee that you can establish lack of knowing possession. Your "friend" has put the weight of this on you. Some of the things your hired local attorney (get one) will do is:
1. convince the DA of the facts and circumstances surrounding the backpack and to drop any charges pending.
2. Convince the DA (perhaps with your testimony if the facts establish this) that your "friend" and not you, is the person the DA should be persuing.
3. Separately perhaps, look at the deliberate infliction of emotional distress your friend caused by in essence, stating that it was your backpack.
4. Consider also, as per 3, that if "friend" is convicted, have your attorney ask for restitution in the amount of his fees, your bail fees, your lost time on the job, or other effects. Remember, "friend" could have remained silent and said NO-THING. By saying "not mine" he was in essence saying "its yours".
I hope that the police took all of the evidence, bag, utensils, and dope into custody.
Don't blow this off, you need to get an attorney to work on this and WITHOUT DELAY. If you put your head in the sand, you will lose opportunities to be made whole.
First of all, you should NEVER consent to a search of your car without a warrant, especially if there are items in it that you are not sure what's in them. As far as whether you should be worried, if this happened in Ventura county, you should be worried! I presume you either bailed out or were released. Now is the time to contact the DA to try to keep them from filing a "transportation" charge against you. It is important to know who if any one, was next to the backpack and if there is any ID in it to tie it to your friend. Of course, your "friend" will not cop to it, as he has a prior, but it may be enough to dissuade the DA from filing the felony. It also depends how much hash there was, and how it was packaged (one piece vs. several containers..). We would need to know why you were stopped in the first place, but since you consented to the search, the Probable Cause issue may be moot. If you have never been in trouble, then if they do file, you will have to decide whether to fight it, or, if it is filed as simple possession, then you can enter the DEJ program and have the case dismissed eventually.
You should retain an attorney immediately.
This professional forum is not designated to alleviate your psychological worries you may develop as a result of your recent exposure to the criminal system.
As licensed attorneys, we are able to evaluate and analyze certain things and offer an initial legal opinion. Here is mine:
1. You have been arrested and booked. I am not certain from your narrative whether you were charged with PCS or with any other counts.
2. IF YOU WERE charged you must retain a criminal attorney or, in the alternative, if truly indigent request a presiding judge appoint a Public Defender to your case at no charge,
3. Even you are NOT charged as of yet, do not make any incriminating or potentially damning statements about any criminal case. You may be charged based on those publicly published admissions.
An area of inquiry my colleagues have not mentioned that your lawyer will want to explore is the original basis for the stop of your vehicle. While you ultimately consented to a search, the officer still needed a reason to stop/pull you over. If the officer lacked the requisite constitutional criterion of reasonable suspicion, then your later consent is tainted. If your consent is tainted, then the "fruits" (the hash) of the search are tainted and should be suppressed as a violation of your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. You should contact an attorney without delay. Good luck.
Get a lawyer right away. Say NOTHING to the police other than providing identifying information (name, address, etc.) without your lawyer present.
The police have you in custody, not your friend. The police and the DA are going to go after you instead of trying to track down your friend. There are many ways a good criminal defense attorney could attack this, including challenging the validity of your consent, therefore the validity of the search, therefore the validity of the seizure. As other attorneys have indicated he may also be able to convince the DA to go after your friend instead of you. GET A LAWYER NOW!
Since I think i know who you are I can say I am sure that you will be ok. What you should realize is that person you called a friend is no friend at all and you should terminate your relationship with him. In order to be convicted of possession a district attorney would have to prove that bag belonged to you, or potentially that you conspired with your friend to possess the drugs. The prosecutor in your case was unsure if he could prove either.
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