How to Fight Drug Possession Charges
Drug Charges in New Jersey
Thousands of people across the country are arrested every year on drug possession charges. Most of these charges relate to small amounts of drugs found in a person’s pockets or bags or in a person’s vehicle. Due to the large number of drug possession cases on criminal dockets in state and federal courts, defendants are often treated in a routine manner by the criminal justice system. However, it is possible to fight against drug possession charges or obtain a more favorable disposition of your charges.
Building a Vigorous Legal Strategy
One common tactic to fight against drug possession charges involves taking advantage of the overburdened criminal justice system. Prosecutors are required to handle hundreds of cases every month; drug possession charges, especially charges for simple possession, are usually a low priority for prosecutors. A defendant who is able to successfully make requests for depositions, documents, evidence, and other procedural matters may cause the prosecutor to offer a highly favorable plea agreement or even to dismiss the case just to get the workload off of his or her plate.
Alternatively, if the prosecutor’s office fails to hand over duly-requested materials to a defendant, that may be a basis for the defendant to seek dismissal of his or her charges. Of course, such a tactic can backfire if the prosecutor decides to prosecute a defendant who has caused numerous headaches to the fullest extent of the law.
Entering a Diversionary Program
Many states offer defendants who are charged with simple drug possession offenses to enter diversionary programs. These programs usually require offenders to enter drug rehabilitation, pay fines and court costs, and/or perform community service. Upon completion of the program’s requirements, the charges are usually dropped and records of the arrest and charges are sometimes expunged. However, if a person fails to complete the program, they may face the maximum sentence for their original charges along with the requirement to reimburse the costs of the program.
Legal Defenses to Drug Possession Charges
Of course, it is sometimes possible to fight drug possession charges on the merits. In some cases, it is possible to have the state’s evidence dismissed because it was improperly obtained. For example, if you were found in possession of drugs during a stop, you might be able to argue that the police lacked probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place. Even if the stop was legal, the police may not have had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of your person, vehicle, home, or place of business.
If the prosecutors allege that you were in constructive possession of the drugs, the circumstances of your case may not be clear as to whether you had constructive possession; for example, if you borrowed a friend’s car and there were drugs in the car, you may have had physical control over the drugs but the state may not be able to prove that you knew the drugs were in the vehicle.
Finally, it may be the case that the substance you were found in possession of was not an illicit substance. If the police fail to perform laboratory testing to confirm that the substance was an illicit drug, or there were potential flaws in the testing procedure, it may be possible to create a reasonable doubt as to whether the substance was even illegal.
Contact an Experienced Cherry Hill Drug Defense Attorney About Your Drug Crime Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a drug-related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified drug defense lawyer about your case. Gelman Law, LLC represents clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Cherry Hill, Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 861-4236 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 1940 W. Rte. 70, #4, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.