There are a variety of defense strategies that can be employed in drug-related cases. The most common are: it’s not mine, illegal stop, illegal search, and not illegal drugs.
It’s Not Mine
It would be helpful to show the prosecutor or the jury that the substance belonged to somebody else. Did the defendant actually possess the drug? Did the defendant have constructive or joint possession of the drug? Mere proximity to a substance is insufficient proof of possession. There must be additional evidence of the defendant’s knowledge and ability to exert control over the substance. Such knowledge and control may be established by circumstantial evidence. For example, I’m standing on a sidewalk. Somebody walks by me, and they drop a bag of drugs in front of me. I don’t even see them do this. The police walk up to me, and they see this bag of drugs in front of me. Do I have possession? No way! I certainly don’t have actual possession, and I don’t even have constructive possession. I had no knowledge of the drugs. The mere presence of drugs in proximity to somebody is insufficient to prove that the person possessed the drugs.
Did the officer truly have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime was committed that enabled them to stop the vehicle? For instance, if the police officer says that the reason for stopping the car was a broken taillight, then it’s important to know whether the taillight was actually broken. An officer can only pull you over for a lawful reason. They can’t make up reasons to pull people over. If the stop is bad—or illegal—then any evidence gained after it should be thrown out.
Did the officer have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed that enabled them to conduct a search? Did one of the exceptions exist that allowed them to conduct a search? If the exception did not exist, and there was no warrant, then it was an illegal search. Anything discovered because of that search should be suppressed and not allowed to be entered into evidence.
Not Illegal Drugs
People carry around all sorts of things that law enforcement may believe are drugs. It is possible to get arrested for possessing a substance that is perfectly legal. The field test kits that officers sometimes use frequently give false positives. Some kits have given false positives for chocolate, oregano, aspirin, and even air! Test kit results should be looked at with much skepticism. The substance should be sent to the OSBI crime lab to get tested. It’s also possible that mistakes at the lab can result in false report results.
For more information on Defense Strategies In Drug Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.