A drug possession charge is a serious offense, and being convicted can land you in some troubling consequences that can follow you throughout your life. If found in possession of illegal substances like heroin, methamphetamines, or cocaine, you can be charged with a serious crime, leading to the possibility of serving time and having to pay large fines.
If you or someone you know is facing a drug possession charge, consider finding a criminal defense attorney to avoid missteps in your case and get the best defense you can.
Defending Against Drug Possession Charges
Drug charges can be dropped, especially when a defense attorney becomes involved and challenges elements of the arrest, documentation, or search, such as how the drugs were collected or how they were tested.
These charges often can be dismissed before even reaching trial, and truly depend on how your attorney builds your case. Some jurisdictions allow for individuals caught with a smaller amount of drugs to go through rehabilitation, pay fines, and when they successfully complete all obligations, the case can be dropped and no conviction made. The accused must be able to stay off drugs, and failure to do so can result in receiving all the original penalties and having to pay for the failed plan. Let’s take a closer look at some of the methods skilled criminal defense attorneys will consider to fight a drug possession charge.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Law enforcement cannot unlawfully search you, your vehicle, or your property without probable cause or a warrant. Any drugs found while violating your Fourth Amendment rights cannot be admitted as evidence against you in court. This tends to be the most common defense against false drug charges. It is in your constitutional right to deny a search without any probable cause, and doing so after you have said no means the evidence against you becomes legally inadmissible.
Proof You Were Not in Actual Possession
Can your ownership of these drugs be proven in court? It’s possible to have a possession charge dropped if there is no way of proving that the drugs belong to you. A prosecutor must prove that you were aware of where the drugs were located, and that you had the ability and access to control said drugs.
Just because law enforcement found drugs near you, or in a place that you share with others, does not mean that the drugs were specifically in your possession. Similarly, you can also claim lack of knowledge or intent when dealing with certain substances. For instance, not knowing a specific drug handed to you was indeed the substance it was found to be, you can mount a defense that you were unaware of what the substance truly was.
Requesting Proof of the Chain of Custody
Chain of custody is the documentation that establishes a record of the control, transfer, and disposition of evidence in a case. In order to prove someone guilty, the prosecutor must be able to prove that the evidence was handled properly and not contaminated or tampered with.
If the evidence was not properly handled, it can be challenged on the fact it was tampered evidence, that the test results can be faulty or inaccurate, or that the evidence was planted at the scene. There needs to be documented and testimonial evidence that the drugs are actually the items that were confiscated at the scene.
Lab Analysis Results
If the state cannot scientifically prove that the drugs you had were illegal substances, your case can likely be dropped. The prosecutor must show that the drug was properly identified, and sent to a crime lab where experts can analyze and confirm it truly is an illicit drug. If police officers or lab technicians wrongly weigh or label the drug, it can cause harsher penalties and sentencing for you.
Entrapment or Planted Evidence
Unfortunately, there can be an abuse of power where someone is led to committing a crime that they wouldn’t usually commit. While it is rare, there are cases of individuals being entrapped by an undercover agent pressuring someone to obtain drugs then arresting them.
This is considered entrapment if proven, and will lead to your case being dismissed. People are also unluckily involved where drugs might be planted as ways of seeking revenge, or if another person needed to quickly dispose of the drugs to avoid conflict themselves. If you’re able to prove you were not in constructive possession of these drugs, or that they were planted by police or others, you may be found not guilty.
Jeremy Widder Law Is On Your Side
Are you facing drug possession charges in Maryland?
While we all try our best, no one is perfect. You want to make sure you have the best representation during such a difficult and stressful time.
At Jeremy Widder Law, we have experience in a wide range of legal practice areas, and we specialize in substance related offenses.
If you or someone you love is facing a substance related offense, we’re on your side and we’re ready to help. Let’s talk.