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Common Defenses in Drug Possession Cases

In a previous post, we outlined for you the possible penalties for drug convictions, mitigating factors in a drug case, and potential consequences of drug convictions. The effects of a drug conviction are long lasting. As such, it is absolutely imperative to have a criminal defense attorney who is highly experienced in drug cases to be standing by your side at each and every step of the process. In this article, we are going to discuss a myriad of possible defenses utilized in drug possession cases. Some of these are constitutional issues, and many are issues that are likely to be addressed in motions hearings prior to trial. Yet another compelling reason to bring an attorney into your case at the onset.

Possible Defenses in a Drug Possession Matter

  • The drugs belonged to someone else. You were holding them for a friend.

  • I did not know the drugs were in my possession. The police found a single pill under the passenger seat. Earlier that evening, you had some friends in the back seat and one of their pills fell under the seat. You did not know the pill was there, nor were you aware your friends had anything illegal in their possession.

  • Someone planted the drugs. This rarely happens and is very difficult to prove.

  • The police performed an illegal search. Certain circumstances must exist for an officer to legally search your vehicle. If one of these does not exist, and an officer searches your vehicle anyway, you may be able to file a Motion to Suppress based on the illegal search of your vehicle. A successful motion could throw out any evidence found during the search.

  • The police did not administer the Miranda rights. If the police officers questioned you during a custodial interrogation without informing you of your Miranda rights, then the statements you make may be suppressed. This means the prosecution will not be able to use your statements against you in court.

  • Entrapment. This is rare and difficult to prove. Entrapment is an affirmative defense. In other words, you are not arguing you did not commit the crime. Rather, you are saying the law enforcement officer enticed you to commit the crime.

  • The substance is not actually the drug alleged. In this instance, a crime lab analysis will show the chemical makeup of the substance.

  • Problems with Chain of Custody. Chain of custody refers to the documentation of the drug’s location from the time it was seized until trial. Every step it took must be accounted for in this paper trail. If the substance was mishandled or not accounted for even for a brief period of time, that will be problematic for the prosecution.

  • The drugs are missing. If the prosecution is unable to locate the drugs taken from the crime scene, then it becomes impossible to prove their case.

  • I have a prescription. Many people choose not to carry around all their prescription bottles, especially when they travel. Instead, they take the pills needed for the time they will be gone and put them in a container or baggie. Although you are supposed to keep your prescriptions in their bottles, showing you did in fact have a prescription for the medication can be a defense.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Have you recently been charged with or arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Southeastern North Carolina? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to fight for you both inside and outside of the courtroom. Having a tough negotiator and litigator on your side can make all the difference. Pick up the phone today and call 910-253-0411 or visit us online at

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