Being accused of a drug crime is anything but an easy situation to deal with. However, it is a circumstance that should be dealt with and individuals in Mississippi and elsewhere should understand their rights and defense options. Taking a proactive and aggressive approach against a drug charge could significantly reduce the penalties and consequences faced if a conviction occurs.
What are the defense options for drug possession charges? Whether you are facing possession charges following a traffic stop or the search of your residence, it is important to note that these searches and seizures of supposed drugs must be conducted legally. An unlawful search and seizure violates a defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.
If an illicit drug was not in plain view, law enforcement may only conduct a search and seizure if a proper warrant is executed. In addition to obtaining a warrant, this document must be properly followed by only looking in the places designated for the items listed. If it is determined that there was an unlawful search and seizure or law enforcement did not have probable cause that could outweigh the need to obtain a valid warrant, a defendant could use this as a defense. This ultimately could help suppress evidence used against the accused.
Next, a defendant could claim that the drugs belonged to someone else. By asserting that he or she was not aware that another person had drugs in their vehicle or home, a defendant could use this as a defense against possession charges. Other defense options include requesting a crime lab analysis, ensuring that the collected drugs are what they presume to be, claiming that the drugs in question are missing, the drugs were planted by another party or the charge was a result of entrapment.
No matter what defense strategy you choose to take, it is important to fully understand your options and how they could meet your needs and goals. A criminal defendant should take the time to ensure their rights and interests are protected along the way as well.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Drug Possession Defenses," accessed August 27, 2017