Imagine having a night out with friends. You drew the short straw to be designated driver, so everyone piled into your car and you set off for an evening of dinner, drinks and dancing. Halfway through the night, as you were shuttling everyone to the next bar, a police officer pulled you over. You knew you were safe from a driving while intoxicated charge since you had not had a drop of alcohol, so it came as an unexpected shock when the officer put you in handcuffs and tossed you in the backseat of a squad car. The police had found a bag of marijuana in your car.
Drug possession charges can come with very serious, life-long consequences. Fortunately, there are defenses available that may help you to successfully fight a drug possession charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney in the Fort Walton Beach area can help you build a defense so that you challenge the charges in court. Read further for more information about possible drug possession defenses.
Improper search and seizure
Under the Constitution, you have the right to due process of law. This means that a law enforcement officer must follow legal search and seizure procedures before they arrest you for possession. If the arresting officer did not follow correct procedures, such as searching your vehicle without probable cause or your permission, then you might be able to claim that the officer violated your rights.
The drugs were not yours
If the drugs did not belong to you and you did not know they were in the car, then this might be enough to win your case. Your attorney may be able to force the prosecuting attorney to prove that the marijuana was not yours but belonged to one of the other individuals in the car.
When a police officer confiscates drugs, he or she must enter them into evidence. Often, drugs will pass through many hands during the process. They must go to the crime lab for analysis and return to an evidence locker for the trial. Since the evidence must go through many hands, it is common for it get lost or mishandled along the way. If the drugs are missing at the time of your trial, it may be possible to avoid a conviction due to lack of physical evidence.
Other possible defenses
Other defenses that might be available include entrapment and planted evidence. These are the two most difficult defenses to use. This is partly because a police officer's sworn testimony can be very difficult to fight against.
If a Florida court has charged you with drug possession, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. An experienced defense lawyer may be able to fight the charges on your behalf with one of the above mentioned defenses.