Whether in Michigan or any other state, nearly anyone can be accused of possessing illicit drugs, prescription or otherwise. Unfortunately, in certain circumstances an individual may be charged with possession with intent, if the prosecutor determines the substance in your possession was more than would be considered normal for personal use. Can you fight drug possession charges, and if so, how?
In the U.S. all people who are charged with any criminal offense, regardless of its seriousness, are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Some people unfortunately have the opinion that anyone facing criminal charges is guilty, however this is not the case. In fact, many are innocent. If you are facing drug possession charges, how can you fight and avoid criminal penalties that often include jail time, probation, fines, a criminal record, loss of your driving privilege, and more?
Drug possession charges are some of the most common in every state; thousands of people are arrested each year, often in connection with a minute amount of a controlled substance found on a person, or in his/her car. While defending these charges is possible, it can be challenging, however in many cases prosecutors have more serious cases to attend to and may agree to reduce or even dismiss charges. Regardless of the situation, there are several defense strategies that may prove effective depending on the facts of each individual case. These include:
Illegal search and seizure. Before being arrested, any search and seizure must be performed in accordance with the law under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, if illicit drugs or a controlled substance were found in the trunk of your vehicle without your giving permission for police to access the trunk, it may be possible that the evidence is inadmissible at trial. However it’s important to note that any evidence that is in plain view of law enforcement such as that in a console or on the dashboard or back seat may be seized and used for evidence. Police must also have reasonable suspicion to pull you over (conduct a legal traffic stop) in the first place.
Entrapment. Police and law enforcement officials often “entrap” innocent individuals by encouraging them to commit a crime they would not have committed under normal circumstances. For instance, police may use an informant to coerce you into passing drugs provided by the state to a third party.
Analysis of the substance by the crime lab. There are many spices and other substances that may appear to be illegal substances such as marijuana or cocaine to the naked eye. Prosecutors must prove beyond a doubt the substance you were in possession of was indeed an illicit drug, which may require analysis by a crime lab. If the substance proves to be Italian spices, powdered sugar, or something that is not an illegal drug or controlled substance, you cannot be prosecuted.
What if the joint you were accused of possessing didn’t belong to you, or you didn’t know an illicit substance was on your property? This is another defense often used by criminal defense attorneys. There are many circumstances in which someone may be in an area where illicit drugs are present, but it doesn’t mean anyone who is on the property is in possession of drugs. Perhaps a friend or family member had marijuana, meth, or oxycodone in his or her house, or a passenger in your vehicle had drugs you were not aware of. Are you responsible when you didn’t possess drugs, or even aware they were in your vicinity? Defense lawyers will fight aggressively to make prosecutors provide concrete evidence of your guilt.
In states where medical marijuana is legal, it could be a defense. Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan and many other states, and it’s helpful when you can produce the proof of a doctor’s recommendation. In such cases, a competent defense lawyer will provide convincing, clear evidence that a medical condition necessitated the need for medical marijuana.
There are many viable defenses that often prove effective for those charged with drug possession, depending on the laws in various states. In Michigan, there are legal options that those accused of possessing drugs may be eligible for including drug court, diversion programs, and more. The most important step to take when charged with possessing an illicit substance or illegal narcotic drug is to speak with an experienced defense attorney immediately.