Charged with possession of a synthetic narcotic (Methamphetamine) after traffic stop for speeding. Arrested for 2 outstanding bench warrents.

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Charged with possession of a synthetic narcotic (Methamphetamine) after traffic stop for speeding. Arrested for 2 outstanding bench warrents.

Methamphetamine was found inside a jacket that I was wearing during a search/arrest for active warrents (DWLS 3rd Degree, 2 counts). This jacket belonged to my estranged wife who was visiting her children who live at my home. This jacket is identical to one that I own. I grabbed her jacket on the way out of the house by mistake. Estranged wife is willing to sign a sworn Affidavit of Facts, testify in court and attest to the facts that the jacket containing the **** was in fact hers, and that I had no prior knowledge that I was in possession of Methamphetamine. What should I do?

Asked on June 21, 2009 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice in Washington, in most states possession of contraband requires knowledge of the substance and dominion and/or control over it.  If you were wearing your wife's jacket, and did not know that the substance was in it, and your wife is willing to sign an affidavit to that effect, that could potentially exculpate you with respect to the possession charge and lead the prosecutor to dismiss the charges if properly presented by your attorney.  However, that same affidavit could expose your wife to criminal liability for the possession of the contraband.  Therefore, since the proper use of this potentially exculpatory evidence is rather tricky, I suggest that you consult with and/or retain a criminal defense attorney in order to evaluate the strength of the state's case as well as the merits of any and all potential defenses that may exist. 


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