Receiving simple drug possession charges may seem like a minor ordeal, but it may turn into a life-altering mess if you don't act quickly to fight those charges. It's no secret that drug convictions lead to far harsher sentences than other non-violent crimes, crowding jails and prisons with non-violent offenders who may never recover from incarceration and lead the life they could have otherwise.
Many employers and property management companies automatically dismiss applications by candidates with drug convictions on their record, meaning that one drug conviction on your record may make it difficult or even impossible to find good work or housing when you need it.
These are only some of the reasons why you should never simply accept drug charges without building a strong legal defense. Prosecutors have no reason to "go easy" on you, after all, and it is almost certainly in their best interests to recommend harsher sentencing rather than more lenient sentencing.
While the specifics of your circumstances may make some defenses more effective than others, there is no excuse for simply not building a defense at all. Doing so places the rest of your life needlessly in jeopardy.
Challenging police conduct
It is possible to challenge the conduct of the officer who arrested you, if the officer harmed you in some way or violated your rights during your interaction. In many instances, police officers do not follow their own protocols, and if an officer does break protocol or violate your constitutional rights, a court may dismiss the charges entirely. Take time to carefully review your interaction with the police to identify any aspects of the arrest that you may challenge, such as unlawful search and seizure.
Unlawful search and seizure occurs frequently in traffic stops that lead to possession charges. A police officer generally cannot search your vehicle without your permission, unless they have a specific reason to do so.
For instance, if a police officer stops you for a traffic violation, they cannot order you to open up your trunk unless they have a reason to believe that there is evidence of a crime in the trunk. If you do not give them permission to search your vehicle and they search it anyway, this may constitute a violation.
Challenging the premise of possession
Unless drugs are found on your person, you may have grounds to claim that the drugs simply are not yours. This may occur if police come to your home because of a noise complaint by a neighbor and find drugs in the house.
While this may seem like a reasonable assertion at first, drugs are not yours merely because they are in your home. It is possible that some other person left the drugs there, especially if your neighbor complained about noise because of party you hosted.
There are numerous other ways to challenge drug possession charges, but only after you begin building your claim and using the legal system to fight back. Until you take action to keep yourself secure, you're pitching the prosecution softballs. Protect yourself and your future now, with a strong, personalized defense that uses the full strength of the law to protect your rights.