After last week’s post here on our Morristown criminal defense law blog, readers may be wondering what they can do when police have accused them of drug possession. Considering the apparent impunity with which police seem to operate — approaching in plain clothes and conducting a search and seizure in broad daylight — the situation may feel helpless.
But this is exactly what authorities want defendants to feel. They want a quick guilty plea, perhaps some kind of plea negotiation but in no case do they want to actually have to be forced to prove their accusations in court as the law requires them to do. Defendants who act quickly by enlisting a skilled criminal defense professional often find a number of potential defense strategies, even above and beyond the illegal search and seizure point we discussed last week.
If the drugs supposedly found by police were not yours, for example, that can be an important point to make in court. It’s up to prosecutors to prove that they were yours — and not, for example, your roommate’s or another passenger’s. And sometimes a police officer will mistake a perfectly legitimate product for a drug like LSD or even synthetic marijuana. A defense attorney can make sure prosecutors have crime lab testimony to back up their claims.
In fact, sometimes prosecutors may not even be able to produce the alleged drugs for which a defendant is charged with possession. Naturally, they won’t take the initiative to admit in court that the supposed substances were lost or for some reason never preserved. But without that evidence, drug charges stand a chance of getting reduced or thrown out entirely.