Defending Against Drug Possession Charges in New Jersey

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In our previous blog, we discussed the definition of and penalties for drug possession charges in New Jersey. In this blog, we will discuss how you might defend against a conviction. Before you implement any of these strategies, we would strongly advise you to consult with a Mercer County drug crime lawyer first.

What are some defenses against drug possession charges in New Jersey?

When you are charged with possession of drugs, either for personal consumption or with intent to distribute, you will need to speak with a skilled Mercer County criminal defense lawyer to determine which defense will apply to your case. Some strategies contest the stated facts, testimony or evidence in the case. Others take aim at procedural errors. If the circumstances warrant it, you may even contend that your actions were entirely lawful. That being said, your potential defenses are as follows:

  • Unlawful search and seizure: Per the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, law enforcement is only legally permitted to search a person’s body or property under certain conditions. If the authorities do not follow the strictures of the law when seizing evidence, the court will exclude that evidence from trial.
  • Drugs belong to someone else: Prosecutors must show that you had control of and/or access to the drugs you are accused of possessing. If your criminal defense attorney deems it advisable, you might argue that you were not aware of the presence of the drugs.
  • Crime lab analysis: Appearances can be deceiving, which is why the prosecution must prove that a seized substance is, in fact, an illicit drug by sending the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. However, there may be errors or discrepancies in the crime lab analysis report.
  • Chain of custody problems: At trial, your defense attorney can challenge whether the drugs presented as evidence are, in fact, the ones taken from the defendant. The gist is that one or more of the officers improperly handled the evidence after it was seized during an arrest or upon execution of a search warrant.
  • Entrapment: While authorities are free to set up sting operations, they are not authorized to harass or threaten you into committing a drug crime that you otherwise would not have committed.
  • Medical marijuana exception: Though never applicable in a federal drug possession trial, you might employ this affirmative defense by showing clear and convincing evidence of medical necessity.

You could be facing years or even decades behind bars for even a first offense, which is why you should not leave your fate entirely to chance. Our firm has extensive experience with drug possession charges and other criminal law matters, so give us a call today.

CONTACT A MERCER COUNTY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

If you face a criminal matter, contact The Law Office of Douglas Herring to schedule your initial consultation.

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