A drug possession conviction can have serious and costly consequences and may result in jail time, hefty fines, rescinded college acceptance, job loss and more. It can also make it difficult for you to obtain gainful employment in the future. For these reasons and countless others, if you face drug possession charges in New York, it is important that you work with a drug defense attorney who can determine which defenses might apply to your case.
According to FindLaw, defenses to drug possession can take one of three forms. Some defenses challenge procedural errors. Others challenge the stated facts, evidence or testimony, and yet others rely on the basis of affirmative defense.
If your defense strives to point out procedural errors, your attorney may claim unlawful search and seizure or missing drugs. The Fourth Amendment prevents officers of the law from searching a person or property without probable cause, permission or a warrant. If your arrest hinged on the discovery of drugs that were in plain view, such as on the dash of your car, you may not have much of a defense. However, if the officer pried open and searched your trunk without valid reason or permission, the prosecution cannot use the discovered drugs as evidence in your case.
Another defense your attorney may use is missing drugs. Seized drugs must go through several transfers before ending up in the evidence locker. It is not unlikely to think that they might get lost along the way to their final destination. If the prosecution loses the drugs before your trial, the judge may dismiss your case.
Your attorney may strive to challenge the stated facts, evidence or testimony by claiming entrapment or that the officer planted the drugs on you. Both defenses involve proving that the officer and/or his or her department provided the drugs in question.
Affirmative defense involves proving that you did not commit the crime with which you are charged. This defense commonly entails one claiming the drugs belonged to someone else, though some defendants also claim a lack of knowledge.
The content of this article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.