How Do You Fight a Drug Possession Charge?
If you were arrested, you probably want to know, “How do you fight a drug possession charge?” Contact the Waltman Law Firm to find out. Call us immediately!
Fighting Drug Possession Charges
Drug possession is typically a victimless crime, especially if an individual doesn’t intend to distribute the drugs or give them to someone else. Unlike crimes like murder or rape, which harm other people, drug possession and drug use harm only the person using the drugs.
Considering this, you may think that the criminal consequences of a drug possession charge are not so severe. However, that is not the case since most drug possession crimes are felonies. That means an individual convicted of drug possession will face serious prison time, fines, and other consequences. But, there are exceptions, such as possession of small amounts of marijuana, which is considered a misdemeanor.
Facing drug possession charges may leave you feeling terrified. However, a drug possession charge is not a conviction. There are ways an experienced criminal defense attorney can fight and get a drug possession charge dismissed.
Nevertheless, beating a felony drug charge involves a lot of knowledge, experience, as well as a sharp eye for mistakes made by law enforcement officers. This takes time, so the sooner a criminal defense attorney is retained, the better.
What Is Drug Possession Under Drug Laws in Georgia
According to Georgia drug laws, possessing or being in control of any controlled substance or illegal drug without a valid prescription is unlawful. But, how a state defines a possession is crucial when determining if someone is guilty of a drug possession charge. In Georgia, possession of drugs can be “actual” or “constructive.”
Actual possession means the police officers found drugs on the person. It can be in their pocket or jacket. Constructive possession is trickier; the drugs don’t have to be in on the person for them to be charged with possession. Police officers can discover drugs in a place where an individual can “exercise control” over them. That means they have knowledge of the drug’s whereabouts and the ability to control it. That means drugs can be discovered in the individual’s car during the search.
In other words, if an individual has control over the drugs, whether on their coffee table or in a glove compartment, they could be charged for possession of drugs.
Additionally, if a police officer sees someone attempting to hide or throw a package that is later determined to contain drugs, they can also end up being charged with possession.
Along with drug possession charges, one can also be charged for having the paraphernalia used with the drugs. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
However, the exact consequences one might face as a result of a drug possession charge will largely depend on several factors. These factors include the amount of drugs found in someone’s possession and the criminal history of the individual with the drugs.
So the larger the amount of drug found in someone’s possession, the higher the sentence they will face. In addition, multiple previous criminal convictions or guilty pleas will most likely lead to harsher penalties. In other words, repeat offenders may face the maximum possible penalty for drug possession.
Potential Drug Possession Defense Strategies
There are different defense strategies that can help individuals fight their drug possession charges.
Criminal defense lawyers typically look carefully at how the drug possession case has been handled and the legality of the police officer’s investigation in an attempt to discover possible errors.
Defense strategies also rely on how law enforcement acted during the arrest and evidence gathering. If certain legal procedures and actions were compromised, then the evidence may be unacceptable in court. That can lead to prosecutors dropping the charges or offering more favorable plea agreements.
The following strategies are the most common.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Attorneys often look at the circumstances surrounding the search that led to the seizure of the drug. They usually want to determine if there was a violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Attorneys will ensure that all search warrant technical requirements are conducted.
If the possession of the drug offense occurred during a traffic stop, attorneys would investigate whether the law enforcement officers had a valid reason to stop the vehicle and if there was probable cause to search their vehicle.
Sometimes authorities go too far and harass someone into committing a drug crime. If someone is pressured into committing the crime by an undercover officer or an informant, entrapment might be a possible defense.
Improper Miranda Rights Notice
Every individual in police custody must be informed of their rights before questioning. These are known as Miranda Rights. These rights include remaining silent and having a criminal defense lawyer present during questioning. But, sometimes, law enforcement doesn’t follow the procedure strictly, leading to the defense attorney arguing that anything the arrested individual says should not be considered evidence.
Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go to Jail?
Typically yes. Felony drug charges are a serious crime in Georgia. Those accused of possession of Schedule I or II drugs will face between two and fifteen years in prison for a first offense. Those accused of possession of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs as a first offense could face anywhere from one to five years in prison.
Even possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail. So, having a qualified marijuana possession lawyer in your corner can be quite beneficial if you are caught in possession of marijuana.
If you have been charged with certain types of drug crimes, participating in the Georgia Drug Court Program can be a potential sentencing option instead of incarceration. Almost every county in Georgia has its own drug court or at least a connection to one.
Reach out to a seasoned drug crimes lawyer with ties to the Cobb County Drug Court to learn more about the drug programs offered and how they can benefit you.
How Can an Attorney Get Drug Possession Charges Dismissed?
Many assume that criminal defense attorneys simply file the proper papers or say the right things, and the felony drug charge will be overcome. That’s not true. To properly defend against drug possession charges, it’s vital to consult with a Georgia drug possession lawyer as soon as possible.
Contacting a skilled Marietta GA drug crimes attorney early in the case is highly important since it can lead to a dismissal of the case or downgrade the charges and achieve a favorable plea agreement. Holly Waltman, the founding attorney of The Waltman firm, can give her best to build an effective defense strategy to help you combat a Georgia drug possession charge. Reach out to The Waltman Firm and schedule a consultation so we can discuss your case.