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Common Defenses for Drug Possession Crimes

Probably one of the biggest common defenses if it's a person that actually wasn't in possession of a particular drug, then the question becomes, how can they be charged with possession for that particular drug?  What concept the prosecutors use a lot is call constructive possession.  So, if the drugs are in your car and you're driving along, that vehicle is registered to you and they could say you're possessing it.

But one of the defenses you could use, if you're driving in a vehicle and drugs are found in there and other people are in the vehicle, then that could be a defense.  You could say, wait a minute, how do we know one of these other people was in possession of the drugs and I didn't know anything about it.  I can't search people who come in and out of my car.  So, that would be one example of a defense in a straight possession of narcotics case.

Location Where Drugs Were Discovered

Also, it depends on where the drugs are found.  If they're found in your pocket, for you to say that you didn't possess them is going to be a real tough road to hoe and I've had clients say that before.  I've had them say that they bought some clothe or borrowed some clothes and they didn't realize the drugs were in there.  That's probably not going to win the day.  A potential jury is not likely to believe that type of a defense.

So, you obviously are going to want to have a defense that makes sense under the circumstances of the case.  So, your best defense is at it relates to possessing drugs is if you yourself did not actually possess them because now you have a strong argument that somebody else might have possessed them.

And another issue when it comes to drug possession is, if they're not in your pocket, you can make the argument that somebody else possessed them or that you did not know that those drugs were there, and if you didn't know or if you shouldn't have reasonably known under the circumstances, then how could you possibly be charged with drug possession?

Other People Had Access to the Drugs

Another area where I see defenses come up is when drugs are found in a home that the police execute a search warrant on or drugs are found in a car that the police stop and decide to search.  If there's other people who have access to that home and if there's other people that are inside that car, you have a built-in defense related to your drug case and that's a good defense that I use all the time when it comes to drug cases is that, my client didn't possess them.  Other people could have possessed them.  It's just as likely that another person put those drugs there.

California Drug Possession Crimes

A lot of times people will go into a home and they will find drugs in the common area of the home and there's going to be a bunch of people living at that home.  So, then the question becomes, how did they know that they're my client's drugs.

So, the best case for the police is that they find them in somebody's room and in that room there's identity.  There's bills that show the person's name.  There's their driver's license.  There's their clothes.  There's other things that are indicative that the own that room and if they find it their room then they have a strong argument that they possessed those particular drugs.

So, as you can see as I talk about defenses to drug possession cases, what it boils down to are the specific circumstances of the case.  That's why it's important to get to an attorney.  Go over all of the circumstances of your case.  Try to tell it first from the police's position because the attorney is going to want to know what the police are going to say.

Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

Then you can give your defense and then the attorney can use their experience — which is what I do all the time, having done this for twenty-five years — to really pan out in their mind to see if you could actually win the case.

What motions might be able to be filed in your defense?  That's another area for drug possession.  Sometimes the police just go in your pockets, go in your car, go in your home, don't have a search warrant and don't have probable cause and then you can file a motion.  They violated your rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

That's probably the biggest defense of all drug possession cases.  You've got to have an attorney who understands the Fourth Amendment, understands how it applies when the police violate your rights.