Drug possession charges can impact your life and your future in many distressing ways. Your employment, housing, finances and freedom are at stake. Individuals charged with simple possession may be imprisoned, fined, sentenced to a probationary term (a court ordered period of supervision served in the community) or required to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program. Those accused of possession with intent to distribute often face significant fines of $100,000 or more and substantial prison terms, depending on the type of drug and the amount allegedly within your possession.
With so much on the line, it is critical that you get the assistance of a skilled legal professional with experience defending those facing drug possession charges.
Drug Possession Charges – Defenses
If you’ve been charged with possession of an illegal substance, a criminal defense attorney can help you identify which defenses may apply to your case. Let’s examine four drug possession defenses available with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure. Generally, law enforcement cannot lawfully search or confiscate a person’s property unless they have reason to suspect that the person has committed a crime. Any evidence gathered during an officer’s unlawful search of an individual’s property may not be admissible at trial and the charge may be dropped for lack of evidence.
- The Drugs Belong to Someone Else. Another defense to a drug possession charge is that the substance did not belong to the defendant. For example, if drugs are discovered in an apartment with numerous occupants, the defendant may argue that the drugs are not theirs. They may even have been unaware that drugs were present. The prosecution bears the burden of proving that the substance belonged to the defendant.
- Proof of Substance. A crime lab must analyze the evidence submitted to prove that the substance in question is indeed a controlled substance. This is necessary because an arresting officer may mistake another substance for illegal drugs. The lab analyst must testify and attest to the drugs’ validity. If test results show that the drugs aren’t real, the case will likely be dismissed.
- The Defendant Has a Prescription for the Drug. A drug possession charge may be dropped if you can show that you have a legitimate prescription for the substance in question. Proof may include the medicine container with your name and the date the prescription was filled printed on the bottle by the pharmacy.
Contact an Attorney in Pennsylvania or New Jersey
The above arguments are not the only drug possession defenses that may apply to your case. Whether you were recently arrested or are further along in the legal process, you have a number of legal rights that a skilled criminal defense attorney will know how to exercise to your advantage.
At The Brookman Law Group, we recognize the gravity of a drug possession allegation, and we are dedicated to examining your case thoroughly and fully defending your rights. Call (267) 566-5598 for a risk-free consultation.
We target Philadelphia, Chester, Norristown, Camden, Newark, Patterson, Jersey City, Woodbridge and Trenton, and the surrounding communities, as well as all matters before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, though have defended cases throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey.