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What are defenses to drug possession charges?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Drug possession is a serious offense in Iowa, with even a first-offense conviction for possession of any controlled substance, outside of marijuana, being an aggravated misdemeanor.

Fortunately, defenses to drug possession charges do exist. FindLaw explores the most common and effective defenses to drug possession charges.

Unlawful search and seizure

Per the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, authorities may only search your property or person if they possess a warrant to do so, have probable cause to believe that you possess drugs or have your consent. If an officer discovered drugs as a result of an unlawful search, then the courts may have no choice but to drop your case.

Chain of custody issues

To have a drug possession case, the prosecution must prove that the drugs it presents at trial are the drugs the authorities recovered from your person or property. If the prosecution cannot prove this, then you may attack the chain of custody by claiming that the drugs are from another case.

The drugs belonged to someone else

Another common defense is a claim either that you did not know about the drugs or that they belonged to someone else. If you do choose to use this defense, you need to be careful, as the prosecution does not necessarily have to prove that the drugs belonged to you. Rather, it must only prove that you had control over or access to the drugs. The best approach when using this defense may be to try to create reasonable doubt as to whether you knew about the drugs. If you can convince the courts you did not, the prosecution cannot convict you.

These are just a few defenses to drug possession charges. If you do face such charges, it may be in your best interests to seek help building a viable defense.