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What Are Strong Defenses for Drug Possession Charges?


Consider this scenario: You’ve been charged with drug possession and face felony charges and jail time.

So now what? Finding the right criminal defense attorney to help you get the best possible outcome for your case? Representing yourself? Pleading guilty? Not guilty?

Understanding every step of the legal process once you’ve been charged with drug possession is important. Hiring a criminal defense attorney who can best represent you and walk with you through the process is even more important for several reasons, including building a strong defense.

In order to build a strong defense, you and your legal team need to know and understand the full extent of the law when it comes to illegal drug possession.

Drug Possession in Georgia

Georgia breaks drug possession into two categories to help determine if someone is guilty of a drug possession charge. Possession can be actual drug possession or constructive drug possession, meaning that drugs do not have to be on your person for you to be charged and found guilty of drug possession.

You can also be charged with drug possession if you are caught throwing away a package that is later found to contain drugs.

Penalties for Drug Possession

Penalties for drug possession in Georgia range from one to 30 years in prison and variable fines depending on the drug associated with the charges.

While marijuana possession of less than one ounce can result in a $1000 fine, up to one year in prison, and a misdemeanor charge, marijuana possession more than one ounce can result in variable fines, up to ten years in prison, and a felony charge.

Schedule 1 and 2 possession works differently. While all offenses are felony offenses, fines and jail time depend on how many offenses you have had. You may face up to 30 years of prison with multiple offenses.

Schedule 3, 4, and 5 possessions all result in a felony charge as well as variable fines. You may face anywhere from one to 10 years of jail time depending on the number of offenses.

Building Strong Defenses

While drug possession charges and penalties can vary, building strong defenses for drug possession charges comes down to your legal team and what they know about your case. There are several common defenses that may be used to help you get the best outcome for your case.

The Drugs Weren’t Yours

Using the claim that the drugs found in your possession weren’t yours is one of the most common defenses used when an attorney is building your case. If you had no clue the drugs were in your possession (unwitting possession), your attorney may use this argument.

An example of unwitting possession is if you were delivering a package that contained illegal drugs but did so unknowingly, you cannot be held responsible for actual drug possession if you are caught with them.

The Search Was Illegal

The Constitution states in the Fourth Amendment that citizens are protected from unlawful search and seizure. If evidence is found through an illegal search or without your permission/knowledge, a court would exclude this evidence at the trial, as it wasn’t obtained legally. If illegal drugs found in a search and seizure effort were directly in sight, this could be used against you in court.

You Had Medical Marijuana

If you are issued a medical marijuana card in the state of Georgia and are found to have marijuana on your person, you cannot be charged with drug possession (provided that you have the proper documentation).

Lack of Possession

Consider being in a car with multiple people or being a renter to a home where drugs are found. For constructive possession, you could argue lack of possession.

But how is this a legitimate defense in a court?

If there is lack of evidence of the ability to control the illegal drugs, i.e. “dominion and control,” or you were one of the renters or multiple people in a vehicle where drugs are found, a court can’t accuse just you or one other person of illegal drug possession. Dominion and control is necessary to charge someone with constructive possession of drugs. Denial of dominion and control would be the logical way to approach a lack of possession defense.

Police Abuse of Power

If police abused their power in discovering illegal drug possession, your attorney could use this as a strong defense in court. From planted evidence to illegal search and seizure or threats/pressure, police abuse of power can take many forms when it comes to drug possession charges.

Entrapment (or pushing an individual to buy drugs in a situation where they normally would not have) could also be considered police abuse of power. This does not, however, include undercover agents, as operations involving undercover officers or agents are protected by the law.

Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz

If you have been charged with drug possession in Georgia, look no further than Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz.

Dedicated to defending the rights and freedom of those accused of serious felony or misdemeanor crimes such as illegal drug possession, Schwartz will take the time to out-prepare the prosecution and explain the criminal law process to you every step of the way.

Contact Andrew L. Schwartz today for a no-obligation, free legal consultation.

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