COMMON DEFENSES FOR DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES IN CALIFORNIA
If you have been charged with drug possession – whether it is for personal use or for sale – you need the experience and expertise of a criminal defense lawyer who can help deploy the appropriate defense strategies and assist you with fighting the charges. Drug possession could be charged as a state or federal crime. It is important to remember that the federal government has extremely tough drug sentencing guidelines.
In a drug possession case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means that it is the prosecutor’s job to prove that you had the drugs in your possession. Here are some of the common defenses in drug possession charges, which are often most effective:
Unlawful search and seizure: Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right to due process is guaranteed to all and this includes lawful search and seizure before an arrest. In drug possession cases, in particular, search and seizure issues are extremely common. For example, when illicit drugs are found in plain view, it is legal for police to seize them and use them as evidence. However, when officers enter a home or look into your vehicle without permission, any evidence obtained in such a manner cannot be used in court. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the drugs obtained in such a manner, even if illicit, cannot be used as evidence and the charges must be dismissed.
Ownership of the drugs: If the drugs confiscated during an investigation did not belong to you, then you cannot face drug possession charges. For example, if police found drugs in your apartment, but if they belonged to your roommate or a visitor, you should not be facing drug possession charges.
Lab proof: Prosecutors are required under the law to prove that the substance obtained is actually a drug. This is typically done by sending the substance to a crime lab for analysis. The crime lab analyst must then testify during the trial that the substance that was obtained during the investigation was actually an illicit drug.
Entrapment: Law enforcement officials have the authority to set up sting operations. However, this can very quickly turn into entrapment if the officers lure a person into committing a crime that he or she otherwise would not have committed. For example, if an informant or some other party, pressures an individual into taking drugs or passing them on to a third party, that could be considered as entrapment. In such cases, the charges must be dismissed.
Marijuana: Marijuana – whether recreational or medical – is legal in California. The only exception may be when you are on federal property such as a national park. An experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyer will be able to fight for your rights and defend you against any marijuana-related charges.
Contacting A Drug Crime Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested on drug possession charges in Los Angeles, there are a number of defenses that may be available to you depending on the nature and circumstances of your case. A skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will be able to expose the deficiencies in the prosecution’s case. Contact our experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyers to discuss your case at no cost.