Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

What are some possible defenses to drug possession charges?

Sometimes a person in Louisiana is just in the wrong place at the wrong time when a crime they are not involved in allegedly takes place. This can be the case with certain drug offenses, such as drug possession. In situations like this, it is good to have an understanding of what possible defenses a person may have. Of course, this is just a general overview of drug possession defenses -- an attorney can assess a person's case to determine which defenses are appropriate.

One defense is that the drug charges came from an unlawful search and seizure. For example, if police made a lawful traffic stop, and drugs in the vehicle were in "plain view" this would not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, if police broke into the trunk of the vehicle with a crowbar without the permission of the accused, this may violate the Fourth Amendment. If this is the case, then the drugs found cannot be admitted as evidence in a person's case and it is possible that the charges against the person will be dropped.

Another defense is that the drugs found actually belonged to another person. For example, if the accused has a roommate who has drugs in his or her locked bedroom, which the accused had no knowledge of, then the accused may be able to claim that they did not possess the drugs.

Of course, in order to be convicted of a drug possession, the drugs found must be illicit substances. It is up to the prosecution to send the substances found to a crime lab to be analyzed. Then the person who analyzed the substances needs to appear at the accused's trial and testify as to what the substances were.

Also, when police seize what they believe are illicit drugs, these substances will exchange hands numerous times before actually being placed in the evidence locker. If there is a break in this chain of control or the substances seized are missing, they cannot be used against the accused.

These are only some defenses to drug possession charges; there are others. Ultimately, an attorney can assess a person's case to determine which defenses would best prove their client's innocence.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Defenses," Accessed Dec. 4, 2017

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