To deter their usage and distribution, the penalties and punishments for drug possession can be incredibly harsh. Defendants found guilty can end up facing hefty fines and years of jail time — but even if they are charged with possessing drugs, that doesn’t mean they are automatically guilty. There are actually many ways that you can defend yourself in court from a possession charge, so let’s take a look at four common drug possession defenses.
In order to be found guilty of possessing drugs, it’s only natural that it must be proven that the defendant had drugs on them to begin with. However, it’s just as important to demonstrate that they were aware of the possession as well. This means that proving they had it unknowingly is among the more common drug possession defenses. For example, if you were to borrow a car containing narcotics, or someone you know left some at your home without you knowing, then you can use an unwitting possession as a defense.
Several common drug possession defenses involve identifying the unlawful behavior of the police officers who made the arrest. There are several mistakes that officers can make throughout the process, such as illegal surveillance and forced confessions. However, one of the more common behaviors that can be used as a legal defense is improper seizure. When officers have a warrant, they are able to inspect and enter specific locations. Because they are incapable of going places not specified by the warrant, anything they find in those areas cannot be used in court — including drugs. Only drugs found in plain view, or areas they are permitted to search because of a warrant, can be used as evidence.
It’s still possible for defendants to knowingly possess illegal substances and still avoid charges if it was proven they were under duress. To avoid detection and get away with their unlawful behavior, the manufacturers and dealers of illegal drugs intimidate and coerce others into doing work for them. This means that if you were forced to transport drugs because of a threat, you’d be considered operating under duress.
Crime Lab Results
The results of a crime lab analysis can potentially be used as a drug possession defense, depending on the circumstances. For example, even if a narcotic looks like one that is illegal, it might not necessarily be. If the crime lab reports that the substance in the possession of the defendant is not illegal or makes a mistake in the analysis, then it’s possible for the case to be dismissed.
If You’re Charged With a Drug Possession Charge, Give Us a Call
Anyone who needs the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Burlington County, NJ, reach out to the Law Offices of Zapicchi and Liller LLP. In addition to defending drug charges, we offer a wide range of other legal services, including estate planning. To learn additional information about our practice areas and to schedule your consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us today.