Common Drug Possession Defenses

Drug possession can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in Florida, based on the type of drug, the amount you had in possession, and other factors. A conviction can result in harsh criminal penalties, including jail or prison time. 

One of the most important steps you need to take to avoid conviction or serving any time behind bars is hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney who has handled cases like yours. Your lawyer can investigate your case, gather and examine the evidence, and determine which legal defenses apply to your case to help you get the most favorable outcome in court. 

The following are some of the most common defenses that may apply to your drug possession case: 

  • Unwitting possession – One of the most common legal defenses defendants is that the drug simply did not belong to them. While you may have a hard time convincing the police if they found the narcotics in your pocket, you may be more successful if you had no idea that you were in the vicinity of drugs, which is known as “unwitting possession.” For example, if you borrow a friend’s car that contains drugs, and you are unaware of the drugs in the vehicle, then you cannot be legally charged with drug possession if you are later found with them. 

  • Lack of possession – Another similar type of defense is “lack of possession,” which is typically used when it is difficult to prove the “dominion and control” element – having the ability and intent to carry drugs – for constructive possession. For instance, if you are in a car with three other people or if your roommate was not home at the time of a search and the police find drugs, it is difficult to accuse only one individual of drug possession. In these cases, law enforcement authorities must establish dominion and control to prove constructive possession. If the police cannot prove who the drugs belong to, then your case may be dismissed. 

  • Police misconduct – The Fourth Amendment protects people from illegal searches and seizures by law enforcement officials. In order to perform a search, an officer must either have your consent, a valid warrant, or probable cause before doing so. If the police fail to take any of these steps before gathering evidence, any evidence obtained at the scene would be inadmissible in court, which will like result in the complete dismissal of your case. Other examples of police misconduct include entrapment and planting drugs. 

If you have been arrested for drug possession in Daytona Beach, contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (386) 693-1637 to let our firm protect your rights and freedom. More than 40 years of combined legal experience!