Drug possession charges are more complicated than simply having drugs in your pocket when police search you. In fact, defending yourself against possession charges includes examining the events that happen before and during the search. There are many other factors to consider, such as the kind and amount of drugs police claim to have found on you, in your vehicle or in your home.
Whether police stopped you on the street, searched you during a routine traffic stop or served a warrant to search your home, if they found drugs, your situation suddenly became even more serious. A conviction for drug possession could mean serious penalties. New York has some of the harshest laws for fighting drug crimes. Because the circumstances can become quite complex, you would be wise to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible to help you build a strong defense.
Charges and penalties
Both state and federal laws categorize illegal drugs by schedules. The most dangerous drugs carry the most severe penalties, including the potential for decades behind bars. Possessing even a fraction of an ounce of certain drugs can lead to felony charges. In fact, with the exception of marijuana, most quantities of drugs can result in felony charges with penalties that can reach up to 20 years and fines topping out at $100,000. Of course, if you have previous convictions, you can expect enhancements to your sentence if a court convicts you.
Defending yourself against the charges
To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor will have to prove that you were in possession of the drug, either physically or constructively. Constructive possession means that you have control over the place where police found the drugs, such as your house or vehicle. Even if you were not holding the drugs at the time, you can still face possession charges. However, the prosecutor must also prove that you knew the drugs were there. This may be a key to your defense.
Naturally, anything police find during an illegal search may be inadmissible in court, so it is critical that a legal professional examine your case from the earliest moments. Any violation of your rights before, during or after your arrest may provide grounds for excluding evidence against you. Building a strong defense strategy is critical since drug possession charges put your future at stake.