Common Drug Possession Defenses

Illegal drugs

Getting arrested for drug possession in Kentucky can have a major impact on your life. This can happen even if you are in possession of prescription medications if you are not the patient listed on the prescription. If you are not successful in defending the charges, you will have to live with the consequences of a drug conviction on your record. Even if you avoid incarceration, this could impact your future employment prospects, especially if the conviction is for trafficking. A conviction may also restrict your ability to travel to certain foreign countries. Therefore, it is crucial to work with your criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense to the drug possession charges. Here are a number of common defenses that can be successfully used in a drug possession case here in Kentucky. 

Lack of Knowledge

In order to convict someone for possession of any controlled substance or paraphernalia to use the drugs, the government must show that the defendant knowingly possessed them. This means that they need to find the drugs on a person or in a common area, like a home or motor vehicle. However, while finding them on a person is one thing, it is another when the police discover them in a common area. Here, they have to show that the defendant had actual control over them in order to meet the knowing possession requirement. A defendant can also submit to a drug test to prove that he or she does not take the controlled substances in question in an effort to disprove knowledge. 

If you share a motor vehicle with other people, then the defense can attempt to show that the drugs belonged to such other person and not you. This can be done by pointing out when you use the car as compared to others. Similarly, if you have roommates, the presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a common area will not be enough to show actual knowledge and control. Moreover, if they are discovered in your roommate’s bedroom, then you will be able to claim that you were not aware of their presence in your home. This can be important, since if the quantity of controlled substances is over a certain amount, there is an inference that the defendant is engaged in drug trafficking and not just possession, which carries with it greater penalties. 

Violation of Constitutional Rights

The United States Constitution affords criminal justice defendants a large number of rights, which are contained in the Bill of Rights and subsequent Amendments. These apply regardless of whether you are facing state or federal charges here in Kentucky. The most common rights are in your Miranda warning. This is designed to inform you of your rights at the time you are being arrested. One of the most important is your right to remain silent, meaning that you do not have to answer any questions asked by the law enforcement officer. If the police fail to read them to you, your criminal defense attorney can challenge any comments you made at the time of or after you were taken into custody. 

Similarly, if the police are searching your home or any other place where you have an expectation of privacy, they are required to have a search warrant. A common defense is to challenge an improper warrant or the discovery of drugs made as the result of a warrantless search. Similarly, if the drugs are discovered as the result of a routine traffic stop, your attorney can raise the issue that the police officer lacked probable cause to make the search and seizure of the drugs. Finally, other Constitutional defenses include failure to provide you with counsel at the time you made the request, and violation of your due process rights in connection with the search and arrest. Courts here in Kentucky take Constitutional rights very seriously, and if law enforcement has not respected your rights, this can be a very effective defense against drug possession and trafficking charges. 

Flawed Crime Scene and Forensic Investigations

Every drug possession charge requires that the location where the drugs were allegedly discovered was not tampered with or contaminated by law enforcement. For example, if the amount of drugs found was minute, this may be because of cross-contamination with police officers accidentally tracking traces of controlled substances from a prior crime scene into your home. 

There also may be issues with the testing of the alleged drugs found on your person or in an area. Whatever is seized must be preserved and properly identified. This will be transported by police from the location where it was seized to the lab where it will be tested. If there is a break in the chain of possession, this can be used to defend against the possession charges. Also, if there are issues with the lab that tested the substance, this can be an effective defense as well. If you are arrested for drug possession or trafficking, call us today.

Contact Our Covington, Kentucky Criminal Defense Attorneys 

Being arrested for drugs can be a life-altering event. You will be facing the full power of the government, as well as penalties that can harm you for the rest of your life. At the Dickman Law Office, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will fight for your rights and defend you against these charges.

Posted in: Criminal Defense, Drug Charges