Anytime you encounter police, it can be a disorienting and frightening experience. Whether it was during a traffic stop or some other event that led to you being arrested on suspicion of drug possession, you should take the situation seriously.
Even if you think the situation is dire, that does not mean you should simply accept that prosecutors would secure a conviction against you. Your situation may fit into one of several common drug possession defenses.
Do you have a doctor recommendation for medical marijuana?
Perhaps you suffer from one of many conditions for which medical marijuana is a viable treatment. Even though your doctor can't prescribe marijuana outright, some have authorization to provide you with a written recommendation. If an officer arrests you for possessing the drug, you will need to provide your medical necessity through the appropriate evidence.
Did police violate your Constitutional rights?
When police officers conduct searches and seize alleged evidence, they must do so with the proper legal authorization. In the absence of a legal basis for a search and seizure, police may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights. If a review of the circumstances indicates such a violation, prosecutors may not use the drugs as evidence against you in court, and the court may dismiss the charges.
Did police induce you to commit a crime?
Have you heard of entrapment? This occurs when law enforcement officers, or one of their informants, persuade you to commit a crime that you would otherwise never have committed. You may have a case for entrapment if police officers provided the drugs you were accused of possessing.
Did the drugs belong to a friend or family member?
Is it possible that the drugs belonged to a friend or family member? If others have been in your vehicle or your home, prosecutors may not be able to prove that the drugs belonged to you.
Could police have planted the drugs?
Proving that a police officer violated his or her oath to protect and serve in order to frame you for drug possession may prove difficult. You will likely need to investigate whether others filed similar complaints against the officer in order to cast doubt on the officer's testimony.
Was what an officer found really drugs?
Many people have heard the old joke about someone mistakenly smoking oregano instead of marijuana. People may say that in jest, but it's true that many other harmless, legal substances look like illegal drugs. An analysis of the substance may reveal that you weren't in possession of an actual drug. In addition, crime labs do make mistakes. Improper testing or cross contamination could cause a false positive for drugs.
Did the so-called evidence disappear?
In some cases, prosecutors can't produce the actual alleged drugs seized during your arrest. In other instances, prosecutors can't prove that the drugs produced in court are actually the ones seized.
You may need help
Regardless of the charges against you, you have rights. In order to know whether one of the above defenses applies to your case, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can review your case.