WHAT ARE SOME POSSIBLE DEFENSE STRATEGIES TO DRUG CHARGES?
Sept. 13, 2018
Possession of small amounts of legally acquired marijuana may not be a crime in Colorado, but those in possession of other illegal drugs will still be harshly penalized. Those convicted on drug charges — even mere possession — can expect to face time in jail, fines, and other penalties that could affect them for the rest of their lives. Therefore, those accused of possessing illegal drugs will want to explore their potential defense strategies to obtain the best possible resolution to their case. While this post cannot serve as legal advice with regards to any particular person’s case, it will go over some possible defenses to drug charges.
One possible defense to drug charges is that the accused was subjected to an unlawful search and seizure in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. For example, while drugs in “plain view” in a lawful traffic stop may be seized by police, drugs found after forcibly opening the trunk of the accused’s vehicle without the accused’s consent may not lawfully be seized. Evidence obtained through an unlawful search and seizure cannot be used against the accused in a criminal trial.
Another possible defense is that the drugs were the property of someone else. For example, if the drugs belonged to the accused’s roommate, the accused can argue that he or she had no idea the drugs were in their shared residence.
A third possible defense is that there was a break in the “chain of custody.” In general, when police seize drugs, these drugs are transferred to various locations (such as to a crime lab) before finally being placed in the evidence locker. If there is a break in the chain of custody as the drugs move from place to place, for example, if the drugs were mixed up with other evidence or were improperly labeled, it is possible to assert that the prosecution is unable to submit the actual drugs at issue as evidence.
These are only a few possible defense arguments that may be used in the accused’s favor in the trial process. Drug possession may not seem to be a serious crime, but if one is accused of possessing illicit substances, they could still be penalized if found guilty in their criminal trial. Therefore, it is important for those facing drug charges to develop a solid defense strategy in order to have the charges against them reduced or dropped entirely.