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Four people face drug charges; child exposed to drugs at home

A conviction on drug charges can carry life-long consequences. In addition to possible prison time, a drug conviction on one's record can make obtaining future employment and housing more difficult. These are the potential consequences faced by four people in Charleston who were arrested at a home on May 9 on drug charges.

Police claim the house was littered with filth. They also claim to have found cocaine and heroin in the home, as well as drug paraphernalia such as digital scales and needles.

When facing charges of drug possession in the home, one of the first issues is whether police had a legal right to conduct a search of the premises. Ordinarily police are required to get a warrant before conducting a search. If they did not have sufficient probable cause to get a warrant, all evidence seized in the search can be ruled inadmissible at trial. In a drug possession case, this will typically cause the prosecution's case to collapse.

Similarly, police are allowed to conduct a warrantless search of a home only in certain limited situations, such as where there is a real danger evidence will be destroyed if they take the time to get a warrant. If the limited exceptions to the warrant requirement do not apply, the evidence seized will be inadmissible.

In drug possession cases it is often possible for the accused to avoid prison time by agreeing to take part in a rehabilitation or drug diversion program. Experienced defense counsel will know how to negotiate with prosecutors to get a client into such a program.

Source: WISTV, "4 people accused of having drugs around toddler," May 11, 2013

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