It is a federal crime, and often a state crime as well, to possess controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroin, or the bongs, pipes, candles and other paraphernalia that they are usually used with. Being caught with small quantities is considered a criminal offense of simple possession; the possession of larger amounts is a much more serious criminal offense. Being proven guilty even once can turn your life upside down.
Simple defenses often do not work when it comes to being charged with drug possession. For instance, if you’re in a borrowed car and the police find drugs in it, it isn’t considered a valid defense to simply tell the police that the car doesn’t belong to you. In most cases, the law makes no distinction.
Your only real hope of fair treatment is to have a qualified and competent drug possession attorney at your side.
How can a lawyer possibly help ?
Drug possession lawyers understand that the law places a high burden of proof with prosecutors. They know how to work with the system and help you find a way out.
Unlawful search: A police officer who finds a person in possession of drugs needs to have had reasonable cause to look for the drugs in the first place. If the officer finds drugs after searching you for no particular reason, any drugs found are inadmissible evidence. The laws for reasonable cause are extremely complex and require years of experience in a lawyer.
The requirement to produce the drugs in court: Law-enforcement officials are overworked and tend to make mistakes. Once they confiscate drugs from a person they arrest, they may sometimes misplace the drugs. Or else, they may put the drugs away safely, but then lose them at a later point. An experienced drug possession lawyer always pushes the prosecution to produce the actual drugs confiscated, knowing there is a chance that they are no longer available. This can free his client.
Expert lab analysis: Lawyers can ask the prosecution to prove that what they confiscated was in fact a drug. Often, the police department may have no access to a crime lab, and may simply drop the case as a result.
First-time offenders can get away with very little punishment
In nearly every state, the courts try to help low-level, first-time offenders by suspending their criminal hearings and sentencing. They offer them diversion programs instead.
Diversion programs help offenders reform themselves by helping them with rehab programs, counseling and community service. Lawyers can help their clients obtain such suspended sentences by signing them up for these programs.
Lawyers often sign their clients up for rehab and other counseling programs even before they obtain permission for diversion programs. It can greatly impress a judge to see offenders proactively addressing their problems.
Expunging a criminal record
First-time, nonviolent drug offenders are often eligible to apply for expungement of their criminal record. If granted, expungement makes it possible for the offender to truthfully say that he has never committed a crime.
Navigating a drug arrest is serious business. It always takes a highly qualified and experienced drug possession lawyer.