One of the most common crimes for someone to face is the crime of drug possession. These arrests and accusations might happen after a routine traffic stop. Perhaps an officer pulls you over for speeding, for example, and sees something suspicious in the vehicle that causes him or her to perform a search that produced illegal drugs.
There is literally an unlimited number of ways that people can find themselves accused of minor drug possession. There is also an unlimited number of reasons why these charges could be inappropriate or unlawful — and that’s where your criminal defense comes into play. Here are five ways that defendants might be able to defend against drug possession charges depending on their circumstances:
1. Unlawful search and seizure defense
Police must have valid reasons to (1) pull you over or stop you and (2) search your person or property. These valid reasons might be that you were (1) speeding and (2) had suspicious marijuana-like material on your dashboard. Or maybe the police noticed that you were driving in an erratic fashion, pulled you over and then smelled the odor of drugs coming from your car. Ultimately, without a viable “cause of action” to pull you over and/or perform a search, any drug-related arrest that results could be unlawful.
2. The drugs were someone else’s defense
Imagine a police officer finds drugs in your car, but they belonged to your passenger. Or, maybe you were a passenger in someone’s vehicle, or a visitor or renter in someone’s home, and the police found drugs that weren’t yours. This could be a viable defense in many cases.
3. Crime lab mistakes defense
Not all suspicious substances are drugs. It’s not uncommon for police — and their crime labs — to make mistakes when identifying drugs. Defendants can show that such crime lab errors have occurred as a part of their defenses.
4. The drug evidence went missing defense
If police cannot produce the drugs that you allegedly possessed as evidence in court, it could render their efforts to convict you entirely moot. Don’t assume that just because police say they have the drug evidence that they haven’t actually lost it.
5. Planted drugs defense
Police officers sometimes plant drugs falsely on defendants to get the conviction they’re after. Don’t fall into this trap. Your attorney may be able to find evidence about the police officer in your case to support a claim of falsely planted drugs.
Were you accused of a drug possession crime?
Every drug possession defendant in Georgia, no matter how serious the alleged crime, will have the legal right to a defense in court. Furthermore, he or she will be viewed as innocent until — and only if — the prosecution can prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.