December 1, 2022
Colorado is a national leader in progressive attitudes towards marijuana. Possession of other controlled substances, on the other hand, is still very much illegal in our state, and you can expect serious criminal consequences for this offense, just as you would anywhere else in the US.
Nevertheless, drug possession charges do not equate to a conviction. In many cases, it may be possible to use a number of defense strategies to minimize your consequences. Depending on the specifics of your case, your charges could be dropped or reduced, or you may win an acquittal at trial.
Of course, the best defense depends on the specific circumstances of your case. That’s why, if you or a loved one are facing drug possession charges, you should consult with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney right way, and provide as many details regarding your case as possible. Your criminal lawyer will use this information to craft the best possible defense strategy for your case.
Below we’re going to review some of the most common drug possession defense strategies. Be sure to discuss them with your attorney.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
For any drug possession charge, the substances found are the cornerstone evidence for your case, and the type and amount of substance(s) largely determines your sentence. Without this evidence, the prosecution will not have a case against you. In most cases, it really is that simple.
In order for evidence to be admissible in court, police must have followed proper search and seizure protocol. This is a part of your Fourth Amendment rights, which guarantee a fundamental right to privacy, and make unreasonable search and seizure illegal. When your constitutional rights are violated, any evidence collected illegally will be thrown out.
In order to search your person, home, or vehicle, police must have probable cause, a search warrant, or the consent of an authorized person before conducting the search. Otherwise, any search conducted would be considered an illegal search and seizure.
Drugs Belong to Someone Other than the Defendant
In some cases, the drugs in question may not belong to the defendant. If the defendant shares a home with another occupant, for example, drugs found in the defendant’s residence may belong to a roommate. Similarly, if drugs are found in the defendant’s car, they may belong to a passenger.
Crime Lab Analysis
Even if the substance in question looks like heroin or cocaine, the prosecution must prove that the seized substance is indeed an illicit drug. If the prosecution did not verify the substance’s identity, this is a potential defense.
Seized substances are generally transferred several times before landing in the evidence locker. In some cases, the drugs can even be lost. Therefore, it should never be assumed that the evidence still exists during trial. If the prosecution is unable to produce the drugs in question, the case will be thrown out.
In order to be found guilty of drug possession, you must be knowingly in possession of an illegal substance. In some cases, the defendant may not know that he or she was in possession of the drugs. For example, if the defendant is a courier and was unknowingly carrying a drug-containing package, this would not be considered drug possession.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the defense may be able to cast doubt on the defendant’s knowing possession of the substance in question.
Any number of these defenses may be valid in a given case, and sometimes more than one apply. A drug possession charges does not equate to a conviction, and many cases are dismissed or acquitted.
If you are facing drug possession charges, be proactive in fighting back to beat or reduce the charges against you.
About the Author
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.