How Can a Lawyer Defend Against Drug Possession Charges in California?

How Can a Lawyer Defend Against Drug Possession Charges in California?

Drug possession charges might appear straightforward, as being caught with drugs often leads to an arrest, and the police may imply the case against you is indisputable. However, the reality of possessing illegal substances is often more complex. There are various circumstances that could explain why you were found with drugs, and many of these might not be your fault. Facing possession charges does not mean you are automatically going to be penalized for the crime. The legal guidance of a drug possession defense lawyer can be instrumental in defending your rights and seeking a favorable outcome. 

At Bernal Law, we have 16 years of experience fighting for San Diego clients accused of drug possession. With our focused knowledge of California’s legal system, resources, and relentless defense strategies, we will build a strong case on your behalf to diminish or drop the charges against you. 

6 Defense Strategies Against Drug Possession Charges in California 

Being accused of possessing illegal drugs in California, whether for personal use or with intent to distribute, often requires the guidance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer at Bernal Law. We can determine the most effective defense strategies for your situation. Sometimes, challenging the testimony, evidence, and alleged facts is the best approach. In other instances, focusing on procedural errors, like violations of search and seizure rights, may be more advantageous.

The following are the most common legal defenses against drug possession charges that a lawyer may employ to increase your chances of diminished or dropped charges:

  1. Violation of Search and Seizure Laws: The Fourth Amendment ensures “due process” of law, safeguarding against unjustified searches and seizures. Police can seize and use drugs found in “plain view” as evidence. However, drugs not in plain view or found without a warrant typically cannot be used in court. If a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights are breached, charges are often dismissed.
  2. Drugs Do Not Belong To You: A common defense in criminal cases is simply claiming you are not guilty of the crime. In drug possession cases, this means asserting that the drugs belong to someone else. For instance, if drugs are found on your car floor, an adept drug crimes attorney might argue that they belonged to a previous passenger and that you were unaware of their presence.
  3. Faulty Crime Lab Analysis: Just because a substance resembles an illegal drug doesn’t confirm its illegality. The prosecution must prove the substance is indeed an illegal drug, which requires accurate lab analysis. Typically, a crime lab analyst must testify in court to detail the lab’s findings.
  4. Missing or Lost Drugs: A defense lawyer will urge that prosecutors physically present the actual drugs involved in the case. If the drugs can’t be produced, there’s no concrete evidence of their existence. Given that drugs may change hands multiple times before a trial, prosecutors who misplace the drugs could jeopardize their case. 
  5. Allegation of Planted Drugs: Claiming that drugs were planted is a challenging defense, as police testimony usually holds a significant influence on jurors. If you suspect drugs were planted by the police, inform your lawyer. They can file a motion to access the officer’s complaint history. Past misconduct by the officer, such as previously planting drugs, can lend credibility to this defense.
  6. Entrapment Defense: While police are permitted to conduct sting operations, illegal entrapment occurs when they or their informants encourage someone to commit a crime they wouldn’t have otherwise. For instance, if an informant coerces a person into transporting drugs, this may constitute entrapment. 

If you are charged with a drug-related offense, it is in your best interest to assert your right to remain silent and to have legal representation during questioning. Avoid trying to represent yourself, signing any documents, or pleading guilty before speaking with a drug crimes lawyer. 

Speak With a California Drug Possession Defense Lawyer at Bernal Law Today 

If you are accused of drug possession in California, speak with the experienced criminal defense lawyer at Bernal Law. Attorney Pedro Bernal has almost a decade of prosecutor experience, so he knows the strategies the other side may employ against you. With our track record of success, you can rest assured that we fight for your best interests at every stage of the legal process. 

For a complimentary consultation, call (619) 736-9092 or fill out a contact form today. We also speak Spanish.

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