Consistently (almost each year), a great many individuals are captured on drug possession charges. A significant number of these charges identify with modest quantities of controlled substances in an individual’s vehicle, on the individual themself, or in any other personal property that they might have. These cases form a large percentage of the criminal court agendas of each state, prompting practically routine conduct of drug possession litigants and punishments. Yet, it is conceivable to challenge these kinds of charges and get a more favourable result. So how can one actually beat a drug possession charge? Keep on reading to find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Win A Drug Possession Case?
- 2 First-time possession charge
- 3 How To Get A Possession Charge Dismissed In Tn
- 4 Can A Simple Possession Charge Be Dropped
- 5 Conclusion
How To Win A Drug Possession Case?
The defense of an individual accused of ownership of controlled substance is frequently a tough process, yet it is not impossible. For instance, one frequently utilized strategy is to just exploit exhausted public workers. Investigators handle many cases every month, and drug possession charges are moderately low priority for most prosecutors. If there is a chance that you can deal with the case at the same level as that of a first degree murder allegation, which involves making numerous affidavits, report demands, and other procedural occupied work, you might have the option to wear out the prosecutor, thus driving him to either drop the charges or offer an essentially diminished sentence as a feature of a supplication arrangement.
Moreover, in many jurisdictions if an investigator neglects to give materials during revelation it is conceivable to look for excusal of the charges as an approval against the state. Obviously, in certain occurrences this singed earth strategy can actually backfire, making the prosecutor take personal interest in your case because of the troubles you have caused him. Following are some common and also not so common ways through which you can get a possession charge dismissed.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
According to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, every citizen possesses the right to due process of law. This includes lawful search and seizure practices and policies before an arrest is made. When it comes to searches and arrests, these are some usual problems in the case of drug possession defenses.
Unauthorized or illegal drugs found in plain sight for example, on the dashboard of a car can be confiscated and used as evidence. However, this is only when the car is stopped legally, such as at a traffic sign. On the other hand, drugs found in a car trunk after it is forced open with a crowbar or any such tool without the suspect’s permission cannot be used as evidence. In order for the drugs to be used as evidence in a trial, the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights should not be violated, otherwise the charges generally are dismissed.
Drugs Belong to Someone Else
Another way to have the drug possession charges dismissed, is to simply state that you did not do it, or that you have no idea where they came from. You can even say that the drugs do not belong to you. For example if the drugs were found in your friend’s car that you took because of some emergency, you can easily state that they were not yours. In most cases, a qualified defense attorney will push the prosecutors to prove that the joint found in the car was owned by their client rather than one of the other passengers.
Crime Lab Analysis
Although a substance might look like cocaine or LSD it does not necessarily mean that it is. If the prosecution wants to prove that the substance found in possession of the suspect is an illegal drug, then they need to send the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. The analyst from the lab needs to then testify at the court hearing in order for the prosecution to make its case.
Just like in the case of a crime lab analysis, prosecutors who lose the case or do not have the actual drugs as evidence, are at the risk of having their case dismissed. Drugs that are taken from the possession of the suspect by the prosecution, get transferred numerous times from one place to another and eventually end up in the evidence locker. Therefore, one cannot just assume that the evidence would still be in existence during the trial.
Drugs were Planted
A police officer’s testimony (under oath) holds a lot of weightage which is why it is difficult to prove whether or not the drugs were planted. Moreover, other officers would not want to blow the cover of a fellow officer. However, your lawyer can file a petition and if it is approved by the judge, the law enforcement department will have to release the complaint file of the given officer. The complaint file has the names and contact information of anyone who has made a complaint against the suspect. Your lawyer, or a private investigator can then conduct an interview with the other party.
Entrapment is when law enforcement officers prompt a suspect to commit a crime that he/she has not even committed. Although police departments can legally set up sting operations, they cannot create a situation that leads to another person committing a crime. For example, if an informant coaxes a suspect into passing drugs to a third party, this can be seen as entrapment. It is an unwritten, unsaid rule that entrapment occurs when it is the state who has provided the drugs in question.
Medical Marijuana Exception
In states where marijuana has been legalized, one can use medical marijuana as a defense to beat a drug possession charge. However, this cannot be done in a federal drug possession court. In states where such exceptions can be made when it comes to laws regarding to marijuana a doctor’s signed recommendation is usually required. Nevertheless, these states also provide for a supporting defense by those arrested on charges of possessing marijuana but can produce convincing proof that it is a medical necessity.
First-time possession charge
The punishments for drug crimes are obviously pretty strict and even people who have been accused with first-time possession charges, must be penalized under the regular punishment guidelines. However, for repeated drug offenders, the penalties are more severe. If you are convicted with first-time drug possession charges, given that it is a controlled substance, your sentence will be based on the penalty group your drug was included in and the amount of the controlled substance you had in your possession.
If it is a small amount of marijuana, the maximum amount of punishment you will receive is a jail sentence of 180 days along with a $2,000 fine. On the other hand, if you have been caught under a first-time possession charge, but the amount of the controlled substance is large, for instance, if you are caught with 400 grams (or more) of methamphetamine you would have to give up to $100,000 in fine, along with a prison sentence between 10 and 99 years.
A class C misdemeanor is given to anyone found with drug paraphernalia for the first time. Items that are commonly used as drug paraphernalia are, plastic bags, planting pots, glass, metal or wooden smoking pipes, bongs, vaporizers or combustion devices, syringes, scales, herb or coffee grinders, spoons or beakers for preparing injectable drugs, tubes used for snorting powdered drugs, rolling papers, and roach clips. The penalty involves a $500 fine as well as community service. However, if this continues, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in county jail.
Even serious consequences for people charged with first-time drug possession, is when they have it with the intent to manufacture controlled substances. This is because possession with the intent to manufacture actually falls under a drug dealing offense that bans using drugs for a manufacturing or distribution purpose. Such charges are always considered to be a felony. If you are found with less than a gram of a controlled substance, it can result in up to two years in prison. However, if it is 400 grams or more, even for a first-time offender, the person is charged with a fine of $250,000 and 99 years in prison.
How To Get A Possession Charge Dismissed In Tn
According to the United States Constitution, the police cannot conduct any illegal searches on the suspect. This rule is known as the exclusionary rule. However, even if the police manage to make an illegal search, and they find evidence during it, they cannot use that evidence in court. The most efficient tactic that is generally used in drug possession cases, is challenging the very first search through which the drugs were found. Attorneys challenge the ways police departments approach drug possession cases including, reasonable suspicion for a stop, probable cause to search the car, illegal entry into a residence, legality of a pat-down and the probable cause to search the person. Upon any police misconduct when it comes to drug discovery, the defense lawyers can produce a coercive argument that can cause the court to exclude the evidence.
Can A Simple Possession Charge Be Dropped
In case of a simple possession charge, you can use the following defenses:
The Substance Was Not A Drug.
This is an extremely common defense especially when it comes to people who have been accused of having cocaine in their possession. Just because a substance looks like a drug, does not mean that it is one. Your lawyer should have a lab analysis conducted on the substance that was found in your possession. The prosecutor would not have any case if you are able to prove that the substance was not a drug.
The Arresting Officer Conducted An Illegal Search.
Even law enforcement officers need to follow certain rules and regulations especially when it comes to searches. These guidelines often get broken or bent, mostly in cases involving drugs. For example, if you are pulled to the side for overspeeding and the officer sees an illicit substance on your dashboard, you can be arrested and the evidence can be used against you. However, it is not important for you to let the officer search your car or apartment, if it is without a warrant. If the trunk of your car or the door to your house were opened without your consent, and any illegal substance was found, it is considered to be illegally obtained evidence and cannot be used against you in the court of law.
The Drugs Were Not Yours.
When it comes to possession, it can be divided into two kinds: actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession means that the drugs were personally on you, such as in your pocket, your waistband, or socks. Contrarily, constructive possession means that there were drugs around you, on your property, or in your local vicinity at the time of the arrest. In constructive possession cases, the prosecutor has to prove two things: first, that you knew about the drugs, and second, that you also knew they were illegal. A defense lawyer can help you fight these claims. You could also provide evidence for the fact that the drugs were planted by someone else, but for this, you will need a strong case with a lot of solid evidence to support it.
Missing Drugs Or Other Evidence.
The evidence that police officers collect usually goes through a lot of different departments and travels to various locations. Because of this, there are times when the evidence can get lost or go missing. If the prosecutor is not able to provide important evidence against you that would have supported their case, it can have an impact on how the case will turn out for them. If there is no substance that can be tested, it cannot be proven whether or not you actually were in possession of the drug. This can make it almost impossible for the prosecutor to convict you.
In any case, if you or somebody you know has been accused of drug possession, pay attention to it. While many look at this as a “minor wrongdoing,” it can have significant outcomes, including prison time, long trial periods, drug screens, fines, administrative expenses, and so on. You ought to promptly contact a criminal protection lawyer for help with these kinds of cases, regardless of whether the charges appear to be moderately minor. Neglecting to do so could have severe results that an experienced lawyer might help you to stay away from effectively.