Drug Charge Defense 101: The Basics Of Protecting Yourself
There are few charges that people feel are as hard to beat as drug possession. While it may seem like it's a tough charge to contest, the truth is that you CAN fight those charges in some cases. With the help of a criminal drug possession lawyer and an understanding of the law, you could build a solid defense that just might save you in court. Here are some of the things that you should know.
Prosecutors Have A Burden Of Proof
In order for you to be convicted on drug possession charges, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the key to this type of defense, because you can introduce some sense of doubt to beat the charges.
To prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, the prosecutors must show a few things. First, they have to prove that you, personally, were in possession of something that is absolutely prohibited. This means testing the substance to confirm that it is, in fact, an illegal drug.
They also need to prove that you actually knew that the drugs were in your possession. Finally, they have to be able to show that the amount you were in possession of meets what is defined as an illegal amount.
There Are Ways To Introduce Doubt
The key to winning a criminal drug case is to introduce some degree of doubt to one of the key factors of the case. Here are some of the things that you can discuss with your attorney to determine if you might have a reasonable defense.
Did You Know You Had The Drug?
In order to be found guilty, you had to know that the drug was in your possession. Knowing that you had it shows the willful intent to possess the substance, but if you didn't know you had it, you can essentially claim ignorance about it. For example, if a friend gave you a backpack or a purse to hold and you were arrested later with it in your possession, you can claim your innocence based on the fact that you didn't know what was in the bag.
Was The Substance Actually An Illegal Drug?
There are many things you may have had in your possession that could have resembled an illegal drug but in fact were not. Further, some controlled substances that you may be arrested for possessing could be legal if you have a valid prescription and can produce it. The prosecution will have to show the testing of the product to prove that it was, in fact, the substance you're being charged with possessing.
Was The Evidence Handled Properly?
The chain of custody is a vital part of the evidence that will be presented in your case. Your attorney will ask for copies of all of the reports and can even ask about the chain of custody. Further, the prosecution has to be able to produce the actual evidence. If they are unable to produce any, such as if the sample was so small an amount that it was depleted in their testing, you may be able to get the charges dismissed. If there are any holes in the chain of custody, you may also be able to get the charges dismissed, because there is no way to prove the sample wasn't tampered with before testing.
Was The Evidence Obtained Legally?
Another quite effective defense is that the search where the evidence was obtained was not legal. If there was no warrant, the search took place without your consent, and the evidence was not in plain sight, you may have a strong defense in this case.