The State Must Establish Affirmative Links to a Defendant

When the State charges a suspect with a possession crime, such as possession of a controlled substance or possession of a prohibited weapon, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had care, custody, control or management of the contraband. 

In order to prove care, custody, control or management, the State must affirmatively link the contraband to the defendant. If the State fails to sufficiently link contraband to a defendant, then they cannot, as a matter of law, obtain a conviction against the defendant.

What is an affirmative link?

In a criminal case, an affirmative link refers to the evidence or set of circumstances that conclusively connects a suspect to the crime in question, establishing their involvement beyond mere presence or association.

This concept is particularly significant in cases involving possession of contraband, such as drugs or illegal weapons, where proving that the accused had knowledge of and control over the illicit items is crucial. 

The prosecution must demonstrate this link through direct or circumstantial evidence to show that the defendant was not merely in the vicinity of the crime but actively participated in or facilitated it. 

Establishing an affirmative link is a key hurdle for the prosecution in securing a conviction, as it ties the accused directly to the criminal activity, moving beyond suspicion to tangible proof of guilt.

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Failure to prove affirmative link leads to “not guilty” verdict for Matthew Sharp client

The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp, with assistance from attorney Stephen Howard, recently tried a felony drug case in the 263rd District Criminal Court in Harris County, Texas, where the issues at trial were whether the officer saw their client possess illegal drugs.

The trial lasted 2 days and resulted in the acquittal of our client.

The State put an undercover narcotics officer on the stand who testified that she observed the defendant engage in a narcotics transaction with an unidentified vehicle. She then testified that she called in uniformed officers to make an arrest. 

One of the uniformed officers then said they saw something drop from the defendant’s hands “out of the corner of his eye” and that when he collected it, it turned out to be drugs. 

However, when presented with the drug evidence in trial, the uniformed officer could not recall if those were the drugs he collected. Nor could the officer say exactly where he found the drugs. Nor could he accurately recall the total number of people in the area or why they were all allowed to leave.

During the presentation of our evidence, our witnesses testified that the drugs were found 12 feet away from the defendant and underneath a neighbor’s car. Our defendant was also not immediately arrested, which would be normal for someone who was seen throwing down drugs. Rather, he was detained until they discovered he had outstanding traffic warrants from 2007.

The jury deliberated for about 2 hours before coming back with a verdict of “not guilty.” They concluded that the State failed to meet its burden beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the officers’ testimony lacked precision.

No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of any criminal proceeding. However, when the facts simply do not add up to guilt, a defense attorney must make every attempt to discredit the allegations against a defendant. The jury weighs the facts and renders their verdict. If the State cannot meet its burden of proof, then the jury must acquit the defendant.

Facing a charge for drug or weapon possession in Texas? Get help from an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney.

If you have been charged with a crime involving possession, you need a defense attorney that will fight for your rights, investigate the facts and challenge the State’s evidence. Your choice of a criminal defense attorney should not be based on who is the most affordable but on who will work the hardest to protect you from the State’s allegations. 

You cannot expect the State to dismiss a case based purely on a question of fact. Your attorney must research the law, investigate the facts and prepare to advocate for your case before a jury.

Whether you’re facing drug possession charges or firearm possession charges, experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Sharp will work diligently to protect your legal rights in the face of prosecution. While he cannot guarantee a specific outcome in any case, he will dedicate himself to your cause and present the strongest possible defense.

Contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp today to schedule a free consultation.