The legal system terms the possession of drugs as a very serious offense. Individuals who get caught for possessing drugs face a lot of scrutiny and possible penalties. They usually face imprisonment sentences, hefty fines, and many other penalties.
If you are accused of drug possession, either for your use or for selling, a good drug possession attorney can plan the right defense for your case and protect you from the potential legal punishments. While some defense plans challenge the evidence, facts, and testimony, others tend to target the potential procedural faults.
That said, before knowing more about how an attorney can help you in your drug possession case, it is important to know what legal punishments are involved in such matters.
Punishment Ranges for Drug Possession
An individual accused of drug possession may possess drugs for personal use or distribution. While possession of drugs for personal use is considered a misdemeanor, possessing drugs to sell is considered a felony. The legal punishment for drug possession depends on federal and state laws.
The penalty ranges for group 1 drugs like cocaine and heroin are mentioned below:
a). Above 400 grams (first-degree felony): Imprisonment for a lifetime or 15 to 99 years coupled with a monetary fine up to $250,000
b). 200 to 400 grams (first-degree felony): Imprisonment for 10 to 99 years coupled with a monetary fine up to $100,000
c). 4 to 200 grams (first-degree felony): Potential imprisonment for 5 to 99 years coupled with a monetary fine up to $10,000
d). 1 to 4 grams (second-degree felony): Potential imprisonment for 2 to 20 years coupled with a monetary fine up to $10,000
e). Below 1 gram (state jail felony): Potential imprisonment for 2 years coupled with a monetary fine up to $10,000
Possible Defenses for Drug Possession Charges
There are several potential defenses that a drug possession attorney uses to prevent an accused drug possessor from getting convicted. Some of the most commonly used defenses for drug possession crimes are discussed below:
a). Drugs Don’t Belong to the Accused Convict
One of the most common defense plans for a drug possession crime is simply stating that the drugs do not belong to you. The idea is to present to the judge that you do not own the drugs and you were not aware of their presence in your home or car. This, in turn, will pressurize the prosecution to try proving that the found drugs belong to you.
b). Illegal Search
By the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, there must be a legally binding search before an arrest. That said, if an officer barges into your home against your protests and discovers drugs, it can be termed as an unlawful search, which means the violation of the right to privacy.
Experienced drug crime attorneys can convince the judge that the executed search operation and seizure were illegal, which can, in turn, act as strong support for your case.
c). Missing Drugs
Claiming that the drugs have gone missing is another common defense plan used by the attorneys. If the prosecution ends up losing or lacks the original drugs found in the search, it invites itself the risk of having its case dropped or dismissed.
It is a matter of fact that the seized drugs usually get transferred multiple times, from one hand to the other before reaching the evidence closet. So, your lawyer can easily claim at the trial that the originally seized drugs are missing and the evidence that is being produced by the prosecutor is not real.
The legal system allows the police to conduct sting operations. However, at certain times, entrapment does take place when the informants or officers induce a potential suspect to do a crime, which she or he may not have otherwise done. If an officer pressurizes you to pass drugs to another party, this can be termed as entrapment.
A skilled and experienced drug possession defense lawyer can prove that the drugs found with you are the result of an act of entrapment, which can, in turn, minimize the drug charges levied against you.
e). Drugs had been Planted
Proving this can be a bit tough as the sworn testimony of a cop is held high in the house of law. Furthermore, the other officers would not agree to expose a fellow police officer. However, your lawyer can file the proposition, which will need the concerned officer’s complaint file to be released, if the judge gives his approval on it. The complaint file generally consists of the contact details and names of the people who made the complaint. Your attorney can call these people and interview them using his ways and tactics, which can help your case.