Drug possession charges can be challenging to respond to, even if you feel you're in a situation where the truth should be your shield. A drug possession lawyer will usually defend a client with one of a handful of potential arguments. Here are four defenses a drug possession attorney might assert while representing you.
There Were No Drugs
This is a simple defense, but it requires defendants to hold the line and wait for lab testing to come back. For example, one man in Oklahoma was convicted of cocaine possession although the white powder in question turned out to be powdered milk. The conviction was eventually tossed, but he had entered a guilty plea to get out of an overcrowded jail.
Police have attested in affidavits to all kinds of ridiculous things being drugs. Field tests have poor performance rates, but they're still often used to back up affidavits even when it turns out the "drugs" were just flakes of donut glaze.
Lack of Possession
The prosecution has to prove the drugs in question were yours. Charges often assert what's called "dominion and control," referring to the idea that the owner of a house or a car must be the owner of any drugs found there. If multiple people were in a car at the time, the police have to prove that one person possessed the drugs.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Another defense that requires holding the line against the cops is that a search and a subsequent seizure were illegal. While drugs out in plain sight can be seized and tested immediately, the police have to have a warrant to look elsewhere. They might want to check the trunk of a car, for example, but they need a warrant. This requires impounding the car, and it often creates a mess for the cops in terms of documenting probable cause. To make a charge stick, they'll have to justify several things, starting with the traffic stop and eventually leading to why they thought there were drugs in the trunk.
This is a tricky defense because legally possessing a controlled substance usually requires some documentation. A lab worker, for example, might be able to prove they were transporting drugs for a clinical trial. Similarly, someone who has been prescribed a pharmaceutical drug that's also commonly used illegally, such as Adderall, may have to show they have a current prescription from a doctor.
For more information, contact a drug possession attorney.