Thousands of people are detained each year on suspicion of drug possession. Numerous of these charges concern highly minute amounts of banned substances in a person’s car or on them. Since these cases make up a sizable portion of all states’ criminal court dockets, drug possession defendant behavior and punishment have become regular. However, contesting these accusations and getting a better result is feasible.
Although frequently challenging, a person accused of possessing a controlled narcotic can nevertheless mount a defense. One common practical strategy, for instance, is to take advantage of overburdened public personnel. Drug possession charges are generally not given high priority by most prosecutors, who handle hundreds of cases each month.
You might be able to exhaust the prosecutor and persuade him to drop the charges or offer a drastically reduced sentence as part of a plea deal if you can handle the case with the intensity of a first-degree murder accusation by taking numerous depositions, making document requests, and engaging in other procedural busy work. In most jurisdictions, it is also permissible to ask for the charges to be dropped as retaliation against the State if a prosecutor refuses to turn over information during discovery. Of course, sometimes this “scorched earth” approach backfires, and the prosecutor becomes personally invested in your case due to the hassles you have given him.
Some jurisdictions also offer diversion programs, which allow people caught with small amounts of drugs to participate in rehabilitation, pay fines and court costs, and, after satisfactorily completing all obligations, have the charges against them dropped and their records cleared of any convictions. Naturally, these programs call on a sincere effort on the part of the accused to continue being drug- and alcohol-free. If you don’t, you could face all of the original criminal consequences and have to pay for the unsuccessful treatment plan.
What Is Possession of Drugs?
Having illegal narcotics like heroin, crack/cocaine, marijuana, and more in your possession with knowledge and intent to do so is considered drug possession. Nearly 80% of drug-related arrests and drug-related offenses in the United States are related to drug possession charges, according to the Department of Justice.
The number of drug possession crimes has increased recently. This is a result of police and law enforcement initiatives that emphasize other elements while also focusing on possession charges.
When someone is knowingly in possession of an illicit or controlled substance, it is said to be in possession. If charges are filed against the person, they may do so in a number of ways and for a number of reasons. All of that will be covered in the parts that follow.
What Happens If You’re Accused of Possession of Drugs?
When you are accused of possessing drugs, a number of things must occur. In order for law enforcement to discover that you are illegally in possession of illegal or controlled substances, you will first need to be arrested in some way. This frequently happens when a defendant is stopped while driving for an unrelated legal violation.
A law enforcement officer might pull someone over for violating the speed limit, for instance. If narcotics are discovered, the person can be prosecuted with drug possession if they gave the officer a good reason to search the car. The charges, however, can be dropped if the police officer didn’t have a good justification for performing the search.
Although the action may not be typical of most law enforcement personnel, it raises enough suspicion to make one wonder if there is fire or smoke. The following article will explain your rights when facing a drug charge and provide you with the necessary tools for mounting a solid defense. Let’s start!
1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE FOURTH AMENDMENT.
Learning your Fourth Amendment rights is the first and possibly most crucial step in overcoming a felony drug accusation. According to this clause of the US Constitution, you are protected against unauthorized search and seizure.
In other words, for law enforcement to search you, they need your permission or a good reason. Anything they gain without it is forbidden.
2. THINK ABOUT COMPROMISING
Accepting a reduced charge or an alternate offer is another effective strategy for escaping a drug charge, at least a felony one. For instance, many states provide diversion programs in exchange for a lighter sentence. Admitting your addiction can also help you get into treatment and avoid going to jail.
3. DECLINE TO ACCEPT POSSESSION
A drug possession defense may still hold water if the narcotics are discovered while you and others were there. Making the case that the drugs aren’t yours might help you win. The onus of proving that the evidence belongs to you and not one of the other parties in this situation is on law enforcement.
4. CLAIM STRATIFICATION
It can be challenging to prove entrapment, but a skilled drug possession attorney might be able to. They will need to show that you would not have been in the situation where you were arrested under normal conditions, free from intervention and improper influence by the police.
A law enforcement official, such as an undercover officer or an informant, coerces you into committing the crime. Both are abuses of power.
5. APPLY MEDICINE EXCEPTIONS
Finally, relying on medical exclusions is an intelligent strategy for overcoming a drug trafficking conviction. The most glaring illustration is getting discovered in possession of medical marijuana. If you can demonstrate that you have a legal right to it, that could disprove the existence of the first probable cause for the search.
ADVICE: SELECT THE CORRECT REPRESENTATION.
The correct lawyer is essential to defending against such an allegation. They are knowledgeable about the finest strategies for supporting you, the prosecution’s tactics, and what they can do to get your case dismissed or, at the very least, have the punishment reduced. Hire an attorney before doing anything else, but make sure it’s the correct kind of attorney!
Tip 1. Have questions about drug possession defenses? Speak to a lawyer
If you’re accused of possessing drugs, you might be able to use defenses that aren’t immediately obvious. Additional protections that aren’t covered here might be relevant in your situation. For instance, if you have more than a specific amount of a drug in your possession, the law typically thinks that you are selling it. However, you can contend that the drugs are for personal use, which might result in fewer penalties and a sentence that includes drug treatment rather than more time in jail. Other possible defenses include saying that you were coerced or threatened.
Examples of how a defendant’s rights have been violated include: being unlawfully searched when there was no justification for the search
- not reading the Miranda warnings
- being compelled to contact the police
- not understanding the repercussions of speaking up
- being prohibited from having legal counsel present
- after seeking to speak with an attorney, the police begin questioning you
- ignoring a request to keep silent and still being questioned
- being mistreated or accused of a crime because of one’s ethnicity, gender, or religion
TIP 2: Provide Evidence That A Mistake Was Made
Your drug charges will probably be dropped and you won’t have to go through the criminal court process if you can show that a mistake was made in some way. One error that might occur during an arrest is not having the Miranda warnings delivered to you. There are numerous such instances that, if established, could result in drug possession charges being dropped.
TIP #3: Negotiate A Charge Reduction
You can negotiate a bargain to have your drug possession or criminal charges drastically reduced in addition to attempting to have them dropped. It might be the same as having your charges essentially dropped if the bargain is good enough.
Deals could include considerably reduced penalties, no or little jail or prison time, and treatment in lieu of jail time. Do you agree with the fact that it is better than a 4–30 year prison sentence?
TIP #4: Show That A Police Overreach Occurred
When members of the police force misuse their authority and take advantage of their position, this is known as a police abuse of power. Typical instances of this include:
- use of excessive force
- searches being conducted without enough proof
- without a warrant
- accepting bribes or coercing someone into having sex with you in order to avoid being charged
- abuses of civil rights
- assault and other violent behavior
TIP 5: Establish That No Reason Was Given For The Arrest
You can go home free and have your possession charges dropped if you can show that there isn’t enough reason to make an arrest. This requires extensive investigation and legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney. But with the aid of a competent attorney, it is something that is extremely likely to be accomplished.
You can be charged with drug possession even if you don’t have any drugs on you. In other words, you don’t even need the narcotics in your pocket or residence.
When narcotics are discovered in a space you own or control, this is referred to as constructive possession. Examples include a car in which you are the lone occupant, the vehicle is yours, and narcotics are found nearby or on the floorboard. Another possibility is that you are the only person in the house and the pills are out on the kitchen counter. In such situations, the court will allow the jury to infer that you had the drugs even though they were not on your person. Since it is a matter of fact, the jury may or may not find that the State has established your possession.
A criminal defense lawyer can frequently point out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. It’s in your best interest to get in touch with a skilled local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you’re facing a criminal charge.
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