Nowadays, drug charges are the most common reasons that Americans are arrested. Due to the War on Drugs, these crimes are still prosecuted harshly, despite slowly changing cultural and medical views on drug addiction and marijuana. If you are convicted of a drug charge, you can serve years in prison and owe hundreds of dollars in fines. Even worse, this conviction will follow you for the rest of your life—long after you’ve done your time for the offenses.
That’s why it’s so important to present the strongest possible defense to fight against such charges. At Luftman, Heck, and Associates, our Cincinnati drug defense lawyers are dedicated to creating the best possible defense for each unique drug case. We’ll be by your side throughout the entire criminal justice process and never give up on getting you the best possible outcome.
Common Defenses for Drug Charges
Any good defense strategy is customized to fit the unique facts and evidence in each case, which is why no one drug charge defense strategy will work for any defendant—no matter how successful it may have been in another case. That said, there are some general common defenses for drug charges that can be used to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. These are some of the most common defenses for drug charges that we may use alone or together with other defenses to defend you vigorously.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: Before police can search your person, property, or possessions, they must have a search warrant or at least probable cause. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated in any way by law enforcement, this is a strong defense. Any evidence obtained in an illegal search or seizure cannot be used in court, and without evidence of a crime, the prosecution’s case will quickly fall apart.
- Drugs Were Planted: Police abuse can be hard to prove, but it does happen. If the evidence against you has been planted, we can investigate the officer’s history and work to discredit their testimony. We may even be able to prove that you were set up and get the charges dropped entirely. At the very least, it can be effective in casting doubt in some cases.
- Entrapment: Sting operations are allowed in Ohio, but police can’t urge you to commit a crime you may not have otherwise committed, even undercover or through an informant. If you were pressured to commit the crime and the drugs were provided by law enforcement, your attorney may be able to prove entrapment.
- Missing Evidence: Too often, evidence is misplaced or mislabeled. A good Cincinnati drug defense lawyer will ensure that the prosecution is able to produce the actual drugs used in evidence against you before the trial can proceed.
- Illegal Stop: If you are pulled over by police, it must be for a valid reason, such as an actual traffic violation. Simply driving in a bad neighborhood or being near a known drug trafficking location is considered a reasonable and articulable suspicion that you were violating the law. Unless the stop is valid, the evidence collected against you during the stop isn’t allowed in court.
- Substance Not Illegal Drug: Lots of substances look like illegal drugs. That doesn’t mean that they are illegal as such. If a crime lab analysis can show that the substance in question is not illegal under Ohio statute, the charges must be dropped. This is especially important in cases where the drug is defined by chemical makeup or plant species.
Any of these defenses can give your case a good chance at acquittal when used under the right circumstances.
Common Defenses Against Drug Possession Charges
Of course, some drug charges depend on showing you were actually in possession of the drugs before the charges can be proven. That’s why there are also some unique defense against drug possession charges. The following are some of the most common defenses against possession charges that we used to defend our clients.
- You didn’t know what the substance was or that it was illegal: For possession charges to stick, you must have had knowledge of what the substance was—or at least that it was an illegal drug. If you were told that it was not an illegal drug or you were under the impression that the substance was illegal (such as if a friend hands you ecstasy tablets in an aspirin bottle and you did not know they were not aspirin), you may be acquitted.
- The drugs were unwittingly in your possession: If you were unaware that drugs were in your possessions or property, you cannot be charged. For example, you can’t be held responsible for delivering a package as a messenger if you were unaware that the package contained drugs. The same is true if you rent a home that has drugs stored inside if you were not aware of the drugs.
- The drugs belonged to someone else: This does not work if you have the drugs on your person, but it can be used in cases of constructive possession (where drugs were in a car with you or otherwise were in your domain or control). If the drugs belonged to another person, you can use this as a defense.
- You are a medical marijuana patient: If you have a written statement from a doctor recommending medical marijuana, you have a right to possess a certain amount of marijuana. This affirmative defense can help you avoid a conviction.
In general, you cannot be held responsible for possession unless you were aware of the drugs and they were actually in your domain and control.