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Common Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

Common Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

Drug possession is one of the most common crimes in South Carolina. Depending on the amount and type of illegal drugs or controlled substances involved in the offense, drug possession can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Although it may appear as if there is no way to avoid a guilty verdict, there are several potential legal defenses available to help you get the most favorable outcome in your case. When you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, he/she can thoroughly examine your case and determine all your available defenses to either get your entire case dismissed or your charges/sentence reduced to avoid spending any time behind bars. 

The following are some of the most common drug possession defenses: 

  • Police misconduct – The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the fundamental right to privacy and protection against unlawful searches and seizures. So, if the police failed to establish probable cause, obtain a valid warrant, or obtain your permission to search your person or vehicle prior to the actual search, then any evidence law enforcement officials collect is considered inadmissible in a court of law. Without the evidence to prove your guilt, your case will essentially be dismissed. Another form of police abuse of power is entrapment, which occurs when an undercover officer or informant induces you into buying drugs when you would not have otherwise done under normal circumstances. Lastly, police misconduct can also occur when an officer plants drugs in order to make an arrest. 

  • Unwitting possession – While it may seem you have actual possession of a drug, perhaps you had no idea you were in possession of such substances in the first place. For example, if you borrow your friend’s car, then were later pulled over while driving, and the police find drugs in the backseat of the vehicle, you cannot be held liable for actual possession because you were unaware of the drugs in the car. 

  • Lack of possession – This type of defense is typically used when the “dominion and control” element for constructive possession is difficult for the prosecutor to prove. For instance, if you were pulled over with four people in the vehicle and the police find drugs in the car, you could apply the “lack of possession” defense because the police cannot prove who the drugs belong to. 

If you were recently arrested for a drug crime in Lexington, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today at (803) 359-3301 for a free initial consultation. 


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