When you are the defendant, a drug possession case can feel hopeless. The charges and the evidence are clear. The police claim to have found drugs on you, and they make their arrest. From there, the authorities will try to convince you that the case is your word vs. theirs. They want to secure their conviction and move on.
As with any criminal charge, however, the facts are not always that simple. Even if you undeniably had drugs in your possession, you could still mount a credible defense against your charges in court.
Tell your attorney every detail about your arrest and the evidence the police have. Then see which of the following drug possession defenses apply to you.
The Drugs Were Not Yours
Even if drugs are directly in your pocket at the time of an arrest, it doesn’t mean you owned them. Here are some examples of how that scenario might work.
You could have drugs on you and be completely unaware of it. This is called “unwitting possession.” Perhaps you borrowed a friend’s clothes, and they forgot to remove their stash from the pockets. Maybe you are driving someone else’s car, not realizing there are drugs in the glove compartment.
The police have a responsibility to track down a drug’s true owner. If they fail to meet that obligation, you could avoid being blamed for possession.
It’s important for the police to directly connect you to the drugs in question. This may not be as simple as it sounds. For instance, imagine the police entering a party. While there, they find several people surrounding a table with drugs on it. It takes a big assumption to pin possession on any one person.
Being near drugs is not the same as possessing drugs. If the police cannot specifically connect you to the contraband, you may be able to walk free from the case.
Sometimes a person is fully aware of the fact that they have drugs, but they didn’t have a choice but to carry them. The drug world is full of dangerous characters who want to distance themselves from legal troubles. They often use violence and intimidation to force people to transport or sell product for them.
If your drug possession was the result of fearing for your life, you were operating under duress. This is a valid defense strategy in court, and it could help you maintain your freedom.
The Police Behaved Inappropriately
In any arrest, it’s important to thoroughly scrutinize the police’s actions and procedures. If they behave inappropriately or incorrectly follow protocol, your case can be thrown out. In those situations, it may not matter if the defendant is guilty or not.
Police can be guilty of abusing their authority. Perhaps they plant drugs on the suspect. They could also force a confession from someone, even after they’ve read the suspect their Miranda rights. Another example of abuse is entrapment. This is where police lure someone into committing a crime. (Note: This is not the same as an undercover investigation.)
If the police have a search warrant, they must stay within the boundaries of that warrant. Anything illegal they find in the area can be used in the case. Police do not have the right to travel elsewhere in your home, and if they do, anything they find in those forbidden areas should not be held against you.
If you’ve been charged with drug possession, contact our office now for help. You can call (801) 901-7046 during normal business hours, or you can schedule time with us online.