1. Your Rights Were Violated
If the massive George Floyd protests have taught us anything, it’s that police officers are not infallible. It’s possible that police officers could violate a suspect’s rights during an arrest, questioning or search. Any type of rights violation will lead to an immediate dismissal of any possession charges. Here are a few of the most common ways that a suspect’s rights get violated:
- Improper or illegal traffic stop
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Failure to read an accused suspect their rights prior to questioning
- Refusing to allow an accused suspect to get an attorney for questioning
This type of defense strategy can be successful, but you also have to keep in mind that you’re going up against trusted and respected law enforcement. Courts, judges and juries are more likely to trust police officers over an accused suspect. It will also be more difficult to secure evidence against the authorities.
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2. Mistake of Fact
Here’s another very common argument against drug possession charges – the drugs weren’t mine! We’re sure you’ve heard this defense before, but you might not realize that it’s a valid legal defense strategy, too.
A good defense attorney will put a lot of pressure on the prosecutor to prove without a doubt that the discovered drugs were in your possession. Maybe the drugs were found in a shared apartment or inside a vehicle where several passengers were present. If that’s the case, then you could argue that the drugs belonged to someone else or were not actually in your possession.
This type of defense argument is very common, but it’s difficult to execute in court. A skilled lawyer will make all the difference if this is the defense strategy you choose.
3. Medical Exemption
Did you know that the common medication Adderall is actually a controlled substance under federal law? It might shock you to learn the long list of commonly prescribed medications that are actually illegal to possess.
So, what differentiates these medications from illegal drugs? It’s a medical exemption to carry the substance! In other words, a valid prescription your doctor writes for you gives you the right to carry specific substances. If you can prove you have a medical exemption to carry the drug you’re accused of possessing, then you won’t be criminally charged.
If you produce a prescription, then your charges will likely get dropped. The one case where this is still up for debate is when marijuana is the substance you’ve been prescribed. Several states have legalized marijuana, so a valid prescription might help you get your charges dropped. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, though. If you’re facing a federal charge, then a medical marijuana exemption may not be a valid defense.
4. Fabricated Evidence or Police Misconduct
These situations aren’t very common, but sometimes, cops break the law, too. Police officers have been caught fabricating evidence to justify an arrest. Any of the following situations would be considered police misconduct:
- The officer planted the controlled substance in your car or home
- The police officer lied about having a warrant to search your home or car
- The officer falsified witnessing a traffic offense to pull you over
If the officer who arrested you falsified evidence or otherwise acted inappropriately, then your charges could get dismissed. If you make this kind of allegation, then an investigation into the officer and the arrest will occur.
Which Defense Strategy is Best for You?
Each of these four defense strategies can be used in court to help prevent you from getting convicted of a possession charge. So, how will you decide which defense strategy is best for your situation? First, you’ll need to consider step-by-step what happened when you were arrested. It’s a good idea to discuss what you remember with an attorney.
Consider whether any rights violations occurred during the search or during your arrest. Think about what evidence the police have against you. Did they find a controlled substance in your vehicle? Did you have other paraphernalia, such as rolling papers, too?
You’ll need to consider these circumstances surrounding the incident and the evidence against you to determine which defense strategy will work for you. A good defense attorney will help you determine which argument would have the most success in your situation.
It’s important to also keep in mind that pleading guilty is sometimes a good strategy when you’ve been accused of possession. Often, you can get your charges reduced or opt to go through court-ordered rehabilitation instead of serving time in jail. If you’re considering a plea bargain, then make sure to discuss it with an attorney first.
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Overall, experts estimate that over 20% of incarcerated individuals have committed crimes for drug-related reasons. Were you recently accused of possessing a controlled substance?
All the above defense strategies are legally acceptable ways of defending yourself against drug possession charges. In order to decide which strategy is best for you, you’ll need to consider the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges. You’ll also need to know what evidence the state has against you.
Not sure how to get started? Our defense lawyers will help you determine which defense strategy will be the most successful in your situation. Reach out to our firm now to learn more about the services we offer.