How Do You Fight A Drug Possession Charge?
There are people every day who find themselves in the position of being charged with drug possession. It is a severe offense that could have long-term consequences for you or someone you love. If you are facing a drug possession charge, it could negatively impact the rest of your life.
The first step for anyone who finds themselves in the position of being charged with drug possession should be to hire an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney. Once you hire a defense lawyer, it is time to discuss how to create a tough defense to ensure your best chance for freedom. Here are some tips to help you fight a drug possession charge.
6 Tips To Fighting Your Drug Possession Charge
1. Understanding Search and Seizure Laws
In Georgia and all over the United States, law enforcement officers and agencies must follow guidelines and may not practice unlawful search and seizure against you. Police cannot search you or your property and take evidence without a warrant, permission, or probable cause.
Unlawful search and seizures are one of the most common defense strategies criminal lawyers use against a drug possession charge. Is there anything that happened when the law officers arrested you that may have violated your rights? Did they enter your home or car without a warrant or permission? Did they have probable cause to search or enter your home or car?
All evidence, drugs, or substances taken during an unlawful search and seizure cannot be used against you in a court of law.
2. Proof of Chain of Custody For Drugs
When you get arrested for drug possession, all the evidence collected by the police begins a sequential chain of custody. Evidence rooms and labs are overwhelmed with the high volume of arrests and are often extremely busy. It is more common than you think that the police or prosecution lose the drugs they have as evidence against you as it transfers between detectives, evidence rooms, labs, and prosecutors.
Most defendants get to see the evidence against them, and asking for proof of the chain of custody is one way to ensure you do not go to jail for drugs that do not belong to you.
Also, the prosecution must dismiss your case if they cannot find the seized drug or substance. Another situation in which your charges may be dropped is if the prosecutor uses the wrong evidence against you.
3. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Just because an illegal substance is found in your home or vehicle, it does not prove it is yours or that you knew it was there, right? The burden of proof is on the law enforcement officers for not acknowledging possession.
While circumstantial evidence is enough to get you in jail, it can also create doubt in a jury’s mind. Just because drugs were found in your car or home does not mean that they belong to you; a skilled defense lawyer can help ensure they are not linked to you.
The prosecutor’s job is to try and show proof of ownership; without it, your defense lawyer may be able to either get a not guilty verdict or the charges dropped.
4. Faulty Lab Results
Some substances resemble illegal drugs but are not. If you had something the police suspected may be drugs, and you knew it wasn’t, but it came back as positive, ask your attorney to find out how many false positives the crime lab has per year.
Sometimes, substances they take as evidence get lost in the chain of custody, or the prosecution mistakenly gives the wrong evidence to the lab, leading to inaccurate results. Always ensure that the evidence the officers collected during your arrest matches the drug possession charge.
5. Violation Of Your Rights
When police do not read you your Miranda rights or deny you access to a lawyer, they violate your rights that stem from the Fifth Amendment, which is the right to remain silent, and the Sixth Amendment, which is the right to counsel.
6. Someone Framed You
Unfortunately, not everyone has integrity, including those who work in law enforcement. If you suspect that you have been framed, consult with your defense attorney and give them the details of your arrest. Here are two possible examples:
- Entrapment. Entrapment happens when a law enforcement agent sets you up in a situation, and you commit a crime you would not normally do. A law officer or agent cannot force you to sell, buy, take or hold onto drugs under threat of harm or coercion and then arrest you for possession.
- Planting evidence. Unfortunately, there are some occasions when evidence is planted by a police officer who lacks a moral compass and plants something illegal in an individual’s car or home.
Current technology, including police wearing body cameras, began to help ensure the safety of everyone involved. With suspected evidence planting, your defense attorney may request all body camera footage, question officers, if the cameras were ever turned off or blocked, and get all the radio transmissions and texts that occurred during your arrest. Sometimes it is helpful to check on the officer’s disciplinary history also. If you can show possible corruption, there is a possibility they would consider dropping all charges.
Expert Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew L. Schwartz Is Here For You!
If you are facing drug possession charges in Marietta, Georgia, Andrew L. Schwartz, an expert criminal defense attorney, is dedicated to defending the rights and freedoms of those accused of serious misdemeanor crimes or felonies. Contact us today for free no-obligation consultation and we will fight for your freedom together!