A drug conviction in Alabama is highly consequential and penalties can be severe. For any individual arrested and charged with illegal possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, meth, other street drugs or pharmaceuticals, aggressive defense is necessary to prevent unwarranted penalties. If you were recently charged with a drug crime in Alabama, you may be wondering, what are my defenses? Will I automatically be convicted if officers found drugs in my home, car, or on my person? What if the drugs weren’t even mine?
The circumstances of every drug arrest are different, but many of the defenses in these cases will have similar grounding. OurBirmingham drug defense attorneys are experienced in investigating and challenging drug crime allegations and charges. We will take the time to review the facts of your case, identify weaknesses coming from the prosecution, and aggressively defend your rights from arrest through trial, and even in post-conviction matters. Having a clear understanding of your rights can help you to minimize the consequences of a drug arrest.
If you plead not guilty, there are many defenses that can challenge facts, testimony or evidence in your case. Successful defenses have also been based on procedural errors. Here are some potential defenses if you have been charged with possession:
Violation of 4th Amendment rights. Under the U.S. Constitution, you are guaranteed due process, including the protection against unlawful search and seizure. Issues involving search and seizure are common in drug crimes cases, but can involve any number of fact scenarios. Your rights may have been in violation if an officer didn’t have the right to stop you, if drugs were found in your car after an illegal search, or if the officer claims you gave permission to search and you didn’t. If your rights were violated during the arrest, the evidence cannot be used against you in court.
Not my drugs. This is a common defense in drug crimes cases. Constructive possession can be charged when drugs are allegedly under your control, but not in your physical possession. As in cases where someone else brought drugs into your home or vehicle. Prosecutors must prove that the drugs were yours and an experienced defense attorney can argue otherwise.
There were no drugs. Prosecutors must prove that there were actually drugs in your possession. Just because something appeared to be an illegal drug doesn’t mean it is. An experienced attorney should force crime lab analysis and force prosecution to prove their case. This same goes for forcing the prosecution to produce the drugs they claim were in possession of the defendant.
Entrapment or planted drugs. These defenses are harder to prove, but it is possible to argue that drugs and other evidence were planted or that you were illegally coerced into a drug crime. Entrapment involves officers who induce a defendant to commit a crime that would not otherwise have been committed.
In the state of Alabama, medical marijuana usage is not yet a defense, however it is viable in some other states. When facing a drug crime charge, remember that you should not plead guilty without understanding your rights and without knowing your defense options. These cases are far more complicated than they appear.