Defenses For Drug Possession Charges in Florida
You may be surprised to learn some of the common criminal defense strategies used for drug possession charges.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches made by police to maintain personal privacy.
For this reason, police are required to follow specific protocols when investigating criminal offenses.
In order to conduct a search, police must:
- Have probable cause that they can find evidence that you committed a crime and have a warrant
- Justify that the search was absolutely necessary in the moment and there was no time to spare to get a warrant
Proving that the police violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights is one of the most common defenses against drug charges. Any evidence that was obtained during an illegal search cannot be used against the defendant.
For example, if the police illegally search a car and find a small bag of marijuana, they may charge the defendant with misdemeanor drug possession. However, if a criminal defense attorney can prove to the court that the search was illegal, the charge will be dismissed - even though there was marijuana in the defendant’s possession.
Constructive vs. Actual Possession
Another defense strategy has to do with the circumstances of the possession.
There are two main types of possession:
- Actual: the drugs were found in the defendant's hand, pocket, or directly on their person or belongings.
- Constructive: there is reason to believe you know the location of the drugs, or you have ‘dominion and control’ over the drugs, or location where they were found.
An example of constructive possession would be if drugs are found in the trunk of a car owned by the defendant.
However, prosecutors must prove that the defendant was aware of the drugs; being close to them is not enough to find the defendant guilty.
Defense attorneys can argue that the defendant did not know about the drugs, even if they were technically under their ‘dominion and control.’
In Florida, medical marijuana is legal. If you have medical conditions that make you eligible for medical marijuana use, you may be able to argue that you were in legal possession.
Some qualifying conditions include:
- Crohn's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Terminal illness
Jacksonville Drug Possession Lawyer
At Monroe & King, P.A., we have numerous years of experience defending our clients against drug possession charges. Call us today at (904) 474-3115 to set up a free initial case consultation with one of our Florida drug crime lawyers. We can help determine your next best steps and strongest course of defense.