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Judge throws out felony drug charge against woman

On Nov. 2, a Minnesota judge dismissed a felony drug charged against a 37-year-old Osage woman. The case was heard in Becker County District Court.

According to media reports, the defendant was stopped by an officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while visiting the Waboose Lake public access on the morning of May 26. The officer searched her bag and found a black box that allegedly contained methamphetamine and other items of drug paraphernalia. The woman reportedly claimed ownership of the items. A deputy was called, and she was taken into custody and charged with fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.

However, on Sept. 20, the defendant’s defense attorney argued that his client’s vehicle and bag had been illegally searched. He further argued that her Miranda rights were violated. To back up these claims, the Fish and Wildlife officer’s body cam footage was entered into evidence. The attorney motioned the court to suppress the evidence collected during the search and dismiss the case. On Nov. 2, the judge granted the motion and dismissed the charge.

If convicted, individuals arrested on drug charges can face serious consequence, including jail time, fines and a permanent criminal record. However, as this case demonstrates, not all drug arrests are legally executed. If an officer violates a defendant’s rights during search and seizure or the arrest process, the evidence might be deemed inadmissible and the case dismissed. Defendants facing drug charges may help their situation by having a defense attorney carefully review the case. In some circumstances, it may be possible to fight the charges and get the case dismissed. In others, the attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges.

Source: DL-Online, “Judge dismisses drug charge against Osage woman,” Nov. 21, 2018