Thousands of people are charged with drug possession every year. While some of these charges are for larger amounts, many cases involve minimal amounts of a controlled substance. In every state, the majority of criminal court dockets are filled with small drug cases. Luckily, it is possible to fight these charges and achieve a positive outcome.
While it may be challenging to defend someone on possession charges, it is possible with an experienced, aggressive attorney. Creating multiple document requests, depositions and other types of procedural requests eventually wears down the prosecutor. He or she would rather reduce the sentence or drop the charges than continue to handle busy work on a minor case.
In many jurisdictions, this approach can also lead charges to dismiss. If the prosecutor does not provide materials during discover, then the defendant can request that the charges be dismissed. There are times when this approach fails because the prosecutor takes an extra interest in the case, but it can be successful.
In other jurisdictions, it is possible to go through a diversion program. These programs allow fines and rehabilitation to be used in lieu of jail time or a conviction. After successfully completing the diversion program, the charges and any record of the conviction are officially dropped. This option requires the accused to remain sober because the criminal penalties return if the accused fails their treatment program.
In some cases, you may have to fight the case on its own merits. This can be done by challenging how the evidence was obtained. You start by trying to show that the officer lacked probable cause for the stop or for the search. This is generally the weakest part of the prosecutor’s case. Officers ask to search, but they use a tone or phrasing that makes it seem like there is not a choice. Ideally, it is best to say no to a search as long as you can do so without being arrested for resisting arrest or obstruction. If the officer searches without probable cause, your permission or a warrant, then the evidence will not be admissible in court.
Another common weakness is in establishing that there is constructive possession. This means that the circumstances may make it appear that the item is in your possession, but it is not actually yours. For example, you may have borrowed a friend’s car to drive to the store. After getting pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer finds probable cause to search the car. The drugs found in this search might or might not be yours. The fact that you borrowed a car makes it difficult to prove possession beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the previous defense is not an option, your next defense is to make the prosecutor prove that the substance is actually a drug. Challenging lab reports and objecting to the substance’s identification means that the prosecutor has to prove that it is a drug beyond a reasonable doubt. This headache for the prosecutor increases the time and money spent on the case. Plus, criminal cases are often rescheduled. This makes a bureaucratic nightmare for the prosecutor as they have to schedule the lab tech to show up in court and rearrange the technician’s days off.
Anyone who is charged with drug possession needs to be proactive. While many people think of it as a minor crime, it can carry serious consequences. Drug possession convictions may lead to jail time, administrative fees, probation, rehabilitation, fines and drug screening. To prevent serious repercussions from happening, make sure to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Are you facing a drug possession charge? Let Thomas Pyles help. He has more than 25 years of experience fighting these types of cases. Just use the form to the right to schedule a free meeting with Thomas Pyles and learn how he can help you.
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