Every state has laws regarding possession of drug substances and paraphernalia, and may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The factors that can contribute to punishments the accused faces, may include whether he or she has a criminal background, how much was found in possession, and what type of drug it was. Those who want to fight the potential conviction, may want to hire a defense attorney who is well-acquainted with how drug possession cases are tried in the court system.
A reputable attorney who has experience with criminal cases, understands the importance of reviewing the prosecutor’s evidence and can help protect the accused from overly severe consequences. When meeting with a legal professional, the accused may have plenty of questions and concerns.
Q: What other factors may be taken into consideration for the drug charge?
A: In addition to type of controlled substance, quantity, and criminal history, the location of the arrest can also be a factor. Having drugs in possession when visiting a park, school, or other community property may have heavier consequences. A first-time offender may not face as harsh punishments compared to an individual who keeps making the same or similar mistakes related to drug possession.
Those who have been found in possession of an illicit drug within their own home, may believe they have no other choice but to plead guilty. However, if there are roommates or a party was held at the home recently, the accused could defend that the drugs are actually owned by someone else.
Q: What if I was in the car with someone who had drugs on them?
A: It is possible that if you were driving a car and had a friend in the vehicle with you in possession of an illegal drug, that you will face charges too. But, an arrest does not automatically mean the accused is convicted. To be charged with drug possession, the prosecution has to bring forward evidence that shows the following:
- The accused was aware of and had the intent to possess a controlled drug without a legitimate prescription
- The accused had a general idea that the drug in his or her possession was illegal
- The accused was in relative or actual possession of the drug
- The accused may not have had a drug exactly, but was in possession of paraphernalia
Q: What if the officer thinks I had an intent to distribute?
A: If the officer arrested you and thinks you wanted to sell or distribute the drugs, the prosecutor may try to do whatever they can to fluff the evidence used against you. The officer does not have to witness you selling drugs per say to make claims that you had the intention to sell. The prosecution may use where you were at the time of arrest, your behavior, and how the drugs were packed, as clues you were going to sell. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA offers who has knowledge in criminal defense can see right through these tactics, and can create a strategy to help contradict claims made by the prosecutors.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal defense and drug possession charges.