The Risks of Volunteering Too Much Information to Police in a Drug Possession Case

June 5th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

When it comes to possible drug charges, the less you say to the police, the better. There is a good reason criminal defense lawyers constantly tell their clients to never volunteer information: Even seemingly irrelevant material can come back to bite you at trial.

Appeals Court Cites Defendant’s Own “Incriminating Statements” in Upholding Felony GHB, Meth Convictions

Let’s consider this recent decision from the Texas First District Court of Appeals, Gaskill v. State. This case began, as so many drug charges do, with a traffic stop. A sheriff’s deputy observed a vehicle with a broken brake light on the back of the cab. The deputy pulled the vehicle over and proceeded to issue a ticket.

The vehicle contained a driver and one passenger. The deputy said testified the passenger was “clinging on to a black laptop bag in his lap, staring straight ahead, and appeared nervous.” The driver–who is the defendant in this case–volunteered that he was “returning” the truck to its owner. Later, the driver changed his story, and said he just left his house following a fight with his girlfriend.

The deputy asked for permission to search the truck, which the defendant granted. The search uncovered a “small digital scale” in the driver-side door, which the deputy believed indicated possible drug activity. The deputy also recovered a “Red Bull can with a false bottom.” Among the items inside of the false bottom was a baggie with methamphetamine and a baggie with “white Alprazolam tablets,” also known as Xanax. The defendant volunteered that he was taking Xanax and another prescription drug.

Under further questioning, the defendant gave his home address. He then tried to claim it was actually his girlfriend’s address, and that he lived at another apartment “that had been flooded.” Meanwhile, the passenger also spoke with the officers, indicating the defendant had drugs back at the address he initially gave. This prompted the deputy to ask for permission to search that address, which again the defendant granted. During this second search, police found additional drugs and drug paraphernalia, including another energy drink can containing GHB, another controlled substance.

Police arrested the defendant. A jury later convicted him of first-degree felony possession of GHB and third-degree felony possession of methamphetamine. On appeal, the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence against him. More specifically, he argued the prosecution failed to prove that he “exercised care, control, or management over the controlled substances” found in the searches of the truck and residence.

The First District rejected this argument and affirmed the defendant’s conviction. Among other reasons, the appeals court cited the defendant’s own “incriminating statements” to the police. For example, he admitted he lived at the address where the GHB was found. He also admitted to taking Xanax, which was found in the Red Bull can recovered from the truck. He also contradicted himself as to who actually owned the truck. All of these statements contributed to the evidence against the defendant at trial.

Speak with a Galveston or League City Drug Charges Defense Lawyer Today

The right to remain silent is a basic principle of our criminal justice system. It is also just common sense. The more you talk to the police, the more likely it is you will say something that will only get you in more trouble. That is why if you are detained by law enforcement on suspicion of drug possession, your best is to keep quiet and call an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney who can advise you on what to do next. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today if you need immediate assistance. Call (281) 280-0100 .

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