Are you facing felony drug charges? If so, you aren’t alone. Over one million drug possession arrests are made in the United States each year.
But, if you haven’t been convicted, you still have a chance to fight back.
Whether this is your first offense or you have been arrested before on other drug charges, you’re probably wondering how to defend yourself in court. Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to build a strong legal defense. And, we’ll explain everything in easy-to-understand terms. Keep reading for all the details!
Were You Searched Illegally?
The first, and potentially most important question you and your attorney will answer is – was your search legal?
If the police conducted an illegal search of your home, vehicle, or body, the evidence obtained must be suppressed in court. Commonly referred to as the exclusionary rule, this law prohibits the government from using illegally obtained evidence against you.
When applied to the Fourth Amendment, this translates to the simple concept that an illegal search is an invalid search – and therefore inadmissible in court.
Did You Know About the Drugs?
Next, your criminal defense lawyer will likely want to establish whether or not you were aware of the drugs’ existence.
If, for example, a person was in your home or vehicle and carrying those drugs without your knowledge or consent, you may have been wrongfully arrested. One person in an area possessing a drug doesn’t necessarily imply that the people around them were aware of the situation.
To convict an individual of felony drug possession charges, law enforcement must show that the person knowingly possessed the illegal substance.
What Tests Were Performed?
If you were searched legally and aware of the drugs in your possession, your attorney will likely start to get technical.
To convict someone on federal drug charges, police must prove that the substance found is, in fact, the illegal drug that they believe it to be. And, determining this requires laboratory testing.
In most cases, a field test or sample of the drug is collected at the time of the arrest. Then, it’s sent to a crime laboratory for testing.
Although it’s uncommon, drug samples are sometimes lost, contaminated, or accidentally destroyed. In these instances, the results of the test may be ruled inadmissible. Or, if the sample was destroyed, there may be no results at all.
If the government is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance obtained was an illegal drug, an acquittal may be granted.
What Was Your Intent?
If you’re reading this article and wondering how to beat a drug trafficking charge, heads up. This next section is for you.
Possessing illegal drugs for personal use is a far less serious crime than possessing them with the intent to sell. But, why?
In the eyes of the law, more severe punishment for selling drugs is associated with the potential harm caused by a crime. By this thinking, drug users are the victims of the people who sell them.
Whereas a drug user only harms themself, a drug dealer has the potential to harm many.
In most states, individuals who are caught with large quantities of illegal drugs are likely to be charged with illegal drug possession with the intent to sell. This implies that a person is in possession of a quantity too large to reasonably be used only for themself.
Because the illegal sale of drugs is a much more serious crime, intent to sell is almost always associated with felony charges.
Were There Aggravating Circumstances?
In some states, prosecutors may upgrade drug charges from misdemeanor to felony if one or more aggravating circumstances or factors apply to the case.
Aggravating circumstances are usually factors surrounding a drug crime that make it more harmful. Some examples include selling drugs to or around children, possession of drugs in a school or government building, and the use or sale of drugs at or around a rehabilitation center.
Prior drug offenses can also be considered aggravating factors, especially when multiple prior charges have been raised.
Call in the Pros
When it comes to how to beat a felony drug charge, the bottom line is that you’ll need a rock-solid legal defense. Otherwise, you might end up serving an undue sentence.
You’ll want to choose a legal expert with current experience working in your home area, who is familiar with local drug laws. A lawyer from your hometown will also be aware of legal loopholes in the city and state, and will likely be acquainted with law enforcement and court officials.
Before you make a hiring decision, you should research each prospective attorney’s educational background, bar admissions, and areas of practice to be sure they’re a good fit for you. Then, read as many online testimonials and reviews as possible.
After all, you’re entrusting your future and your freedom to them!
Fight Your Felony Drug Charges
Now that you know a bit more about your options for legal defense when it comes to felony drug charges, you’re ready to take a stand. Congratulations! Reading this article could be the very first step toward getting your life back.
Keep this article as your guide and hire an expert Fairfax criminal attorney for your very best chances at beating that case.
Do you have questions about the charges you face? Or, would you like to learn more about our services?
Contact our office for a consultation. We’re happy to help, and promise to keep your information completely confidential.