Do Not Consent to a Search
Video Transcribed: So there was an interesting case recently out of Australia of all places involving mail-order drugs and an attempted sting by Australian law enforcement.
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am one of the Criminal Attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the Wirth Law Office, and we’re going to talk a little bit today about a case involving an individual who was shipped an illicit substance, where it was intercepted at the post office.
And law enforcement basically took the illicit substance out of the package and replaced it with powdered sugar in an attempt to bust the intended recipient.
Now, this was in Australia and ultimately this individual wound up being cleared on the grounds that he did not have dominion or control over the drug at any point in time.
Now, where that’s interesting, this was an Australian case, but where that’s interesting from an American standpoint under Oklahoma law, is it does raise the issue of dominion and control as I’d mentioned.
Now, for most types of possession charges, you have to actually either be caught with the item in your hand or the state of Oklahoma has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had dominion and control over the contraband, the drugs, or whatever it is.
So usually, the way that’s done is, is basically the state will prove that you had the right to either have actual physical control over whatever the contraband was, or you had the right to possess it and control whatever happened to it.
Now, in the case of something that was mailed to you, dominion and control would be difficult to establish. Although I wouldn’t recommend trying to mail order illicit drugs, because you may have violated another statute. But for the purposes of possession, it gets a little tricky if you never actually possessed the drug.
And if what comes out at the mail at the other end is some kind of a nerve stimulant. Because the reality of it is to make out a possession case, the state’s going to have to prove you had dominion and control. If you never actually received the drug, you never actually got dominion and control.
So this is kind of an interesting situation. It’s one of those things. This is an element of drug law and other laws governing the possession of contraband.
So if you do happen to have something illicit in your home or something elicited in your car that you really legitimately didn’t know about legally speaking, you can’t have committed the crime of possession. However, I would note for those who are listening to this, that is the end.
That should be the end result if you go to criminal court over that. However, I can also tell you that I’ve seen plenty of examples of cases where somebody had something illegal in their car and because they were driving the trier of fact inferred that they had dominion control based on the fact that they were driving. And the bottom line is that’s not a situation you want to be in.
And the lesson there among other things is just because you might have a dominion and control argument doesn’t mean you can’t get convicted anyway. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not going to have a headache and a half trying to clear your name if you consent to a search, not realizing there was something illegal where it shouldn’t have been.
So I would still absolutely recommend do not consenting to a search. And if you do you happen to discover there’s something suspicious, like an unknown package or something that somehow found its way into your car, your home, or your bag at the airport, get rid of it. Don’t sit on your ass and wait to get busted.
If you don’t know what that is, and you know it’s not yours, get rid of it because it’s not a guarantee. Yeah, there is that dominion control element. It’s not a guarantee. Now if you have questions about this issue or you’re facing some kind of a criminal matter that you need help with, I encourage you to go to makelaweasy.com and we’ll help you out, guys. Thanks.