There are many defenses that you may be able to use if you are charged with drug possession in California. For instance, it may be possible to argue that marijuana, LSD or other controlled substances found on your person don’t actually belong to you. It may also be possible to assert that whatever was found during a search merely looked like a controlled substance.
Not all searches are legal
Authorities must respect your rights while conducting a search. For example, a search is generally invalid if an officer doesn’t have a warrant or your permission to go through your things. If your rights are violated, any evidence that is found while searching your backpack, car or person may be ruled inadmissible at trial. Depending on the strength of the case against you, getting evidence suppressed may be enough to have a charge dropped or reduced.
Chain of custody matters
Typically, evidence that is seized during a search is placed in a secure location. However, there is a chance that an officer mishandled or misplaced evidence in your case. You may also use a defense strategy of casting doubt on the evidence submitted during trial. Essentially, you are arguing that the drugs in question were taken from another defendant and were never actually in your possession. If your claim is successful in creating reasonable doubt among jurors, it may result in an acquittal.
If you are convicted of drug possession, you may face penalties such as jail or prison time, probation or a fine. A criminal conviction may also make it harder to find housing, get a job or get accepted into college. However, understanding the defenses to this charge may allow you to avoid some or all of these negative consequences.