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Defending against drug possession charges

Many drug-related criminal charges in New York stem from the possession of drugs. People facing drug possession charges often had drugs in their possession for personal use and had no intent to manufacture, distribute or sell the drug to others. Because of this, the consequences of drug possession are generally less severe than the consequences of possession with an intent to distribute. In reality though, all drug offenses can result in serious consequences, and those facing drug charges deserve an aggressive defense against their charges.

If one has been charged with drug possession, one of the most useful defenses is that the officers on the case performed an unlawful search and seizure at the time of the arrest. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In other words, officers generally must have consent or a valid search warrant to search a person's home or vehicle for drugs. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if an officer stops a driver's vehicle and sees drugs in plain view on the backseat of their vehicle, they are permitted to seize it and use it as evidence against the driver. But, if the officer searches the trunk of their car without their permission and without a reasonable belief that there are drugs in the vehicle, any drugs found in the trunk may not be used as evidence against the driver. A qualified criminal defense attorney can determine if the evidence against was obtained illegally.

Another common defense is proving that the drugs belonged to someone other than the person facing charges. This is particularly useful in cases where the person facing charges was in a vehicle with other people. There is often no evidence that the drugs found in the vehicle belonged to that person and not the others.

Drug charges can often result in jail time and have life-long consequences for people that are convicted. Defending against these charges can keep one out of prison or lessen the sentence.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Drug Possession Defenses," accessed on April 23, 2018

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