Possible legal defenses for drug charges

In Michigan and the other states in the U.S., someone may be charged with possession of illegal drugs for either personal use or with the intent to distribute. Defenses to this charge vary according to the facts in the case. States have differing laws, but the federal government usually tends to be tough. There are several defenses to drug possession.

Claiming that the drugs are someone else's, or claiming innocence because the defendant had no clue they were in their car or residence, is one defense. The prosecutors can be challenged by the defense attorney to prove the drugs were their client's. A common defense to drug charges is claiming there was an unlawful search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. An illegal drug seen by a police officer during the course of a legal traffic stop, known as being in plain view, means that they can be seized. If the drugs were found after forcefully opening part of the car, and without permission, they can't be used as evidence.

Entrapment is a viable defense, under some circumstances. When an informant or officers cause someone to commit a crime, usually by supplying the drugs in some way, it is entrapment. The substances must be proven by a crime lab analysis to actually be an illegal drug and not something that just looks like it. The actual drugs the defendant is being charged for must be produced during the trial, or the case could be dismissed. Proving that drugs are planted is difficult but approval by the judge will allow the complaint file of the officer to be released. Medical marijuana exception is also a possibility, depending on the state.

Drug charge cases may have aspects that could be used as a defense. In the event someone is charged with drug possession, an experienced attorney may be able to help them evaluate a possible defense. An attorney could possibly argue to reduce charges or have the case dismissed.