Attorney Melissa Thomas convinced the District Attorney's office to drop ALL CHARGES against her client today. Police searched her client's vehicle after he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. They found a gun under the passenger seat where a different person was seated. The police decided to arrest her client, the driver of the vehicle, but let the passenger go free.
Melissa worked with his client's favor to uncover evidence linking the other passenger to the firearm. Once she presented the DA's office with this evidence, they had no choice but to withdraw the charges.
When police find a firearm, narcotics, or any other contraband hidden in a vehicle, the government has to prove that the defendant had constructive possession over the contraband. Often times, they can't make out their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
A person does not possess a firearm merely because he or she is aware of the presence and nature of the firearm or because he or she is physically close to it. Possession means what it does in ordinary usage: someone is knowingly holding, carrying, or otherwise directly controlling the possession of the gun. A person can be guilty of possessing an item even when he or she is not holding it, touching it, or in the same area as the item. That type of possession is what the law calls constructive possession. For there to be constructive possession, it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual had both the intent to control the item and the power to control the item.
Attorney Thomas was able to persuade the DA prior to trial that the state could not possibly prove that this defendant had the intent to control and the power to control that firearm.