Drug Possession Charges: Proving a Lack of Intent

Drug Possession Charges: Proving a Lack of Intent

Challenging a drug possession allegation is daunting. Often, it appears as though the evidence is undeniable, and there’s no way out of the situation. This is simply false.

Regardless of the evidence against you – even if you were found with drugs directly on your person – there are credible, genuine defenses that can hold up in court. One of the best strategies is arguing a lack of intent.

Intent, in legal terms, is the standard that shows you committed a crime on purpose. It isn’t enough for prosecutors to prove you had drugs on you. They need to prove that you knew what you were doing, and you did it willingly. No one should have their freedom removed on a technicality. If you never intended to have the drugs in the first place, you can use this claim to defend yourself in court.

You have a right to a defense, and you should exercise this right. A legal professional can help craft your story, helping a jury understand your position. Here are some “lack of intent” defenses you can discuss and strategize with your lawyer.

You Were Unaware of the Drugs

When you are caught with drugs that you didn’t know you had, you can employ the unwitting possession” defense.

Every day, people borrow items from one another. At any time, you could be wearing someone else’s jacket or driving their car. You can’t control what they do with their property, but you could get into trouble for their possessions.

Even if police find a controlled substance directly on you, they can’t be positive that it belongs to you. It can be easy to prove that you were using something that was borrowed. Eyewitnesses from family or housemates can confirm that you are not the original owner of the jacket/pants/shirt/etc. If drugs were found inside a car, it’s easy to trace the registration to its owner.

We’re focusing on borrowed items here, but there many ways you could be unaware of drugs in your possession. Explain your situation to your attorney. They can help craft your story into a defense that is credible and effective in court.

The Drugs Can’t Be Traced Directly to You

Maybe you were completely aware of the drugs in question. You knew where they could be found and their exact contents. That still doesn’t mean they belonged to you. In such scenarios, you can argue a “lack of possession.”

Perhaps you share an apartment with someone who uses or sells drugs. Police enter your apartment and find cocaine in the cupboard. Just because the drugs were in your house, that doesn’t mean they were yours. You are not a cop, and it’s not your job to police your roommate’s behavior. If they chose to keep illegal items within the living space, you shouldn’t be blamed for it.

You Were Operating Under Threat

The drug world is known for its shady characters. The criminals often use other people in their endeavors. If you were forced to transport drugs, you can use the “duress” defense.

Ultimately, yes, you were aware that you were doing something illegal. You were, however, only doing so to protect yourself, your family, or whoever else the bad guys threatened. This situation is not as far-fetched as some may believe, and it has been an effective defense countless times. This defense could not only preserve your innocence, but it could also motivate your accusers to go after the true culprit.

The Investigation Was Inappropriate

Thus far, we’ve focused only on strategies associated with intent. Another strategy is to take the fight directly to your accusers.

Police have very strict regulations under which they can operate. If they go outside the bounds of these rules, even just a little, the case could be thrown out. Here are some common ways police can be guilty of overstepping their bounds.

They Went Beyond the Warrant

A good warrant outlines exactly where and how police may conduct their search. Any illegal activity they find within the boundaries of their warrant can be used against you. This is called the “plain view” rule. For example, if police search for counterfeit money and find a bag of cocaine, they can bring up drug charges.

Police cannot, however, go beyond these boundaries. If they have permission to search only the bathrooms and bedrooms, then they have no business entering the garage. Have your attorney thoroughly inspect any search orders and compare them to the police’s behavior. Regardless of what police find, if it’s outside their allowed purview, it may be inadmissible as evidence against you.

They Abused Their Power

Overzealous police can abuse their power. They can be guilty of planting evidence on someone. Perhaps they conduct unwarranted surveillance, or they monitor communications without court-ordered permission.

They can even trick or coerce a confession out of someone, even when that person has chosen to remain silent. These methods can be so sneaky that even the alleged criminal is unaware of them.

Make sure to tell your attorney every little detail of how you were searched, questioned, and so on. If there is an abuse of power present, your lawyer should be able to detect it and use it in your defense.

They Entrapped You

Entrapment is a complicated, often misunderstood defense. Police have the right to go undercover, lying and fabricating stories to land an arrest. They can also lie about being police when directly confronted. They cannot, however, coax someone into committing a crime.

Entrapment happens when the police set up a crime and recruit people to join in. They approach someone with a plan and ask them to be a part of it. This person could be reluctant, but the entrapping officer doesn’t let that stop them. They keep sweetening the deal until their target agrees. Suddenly, this person finds themselves accused of a crime they wouldn’t have normally committed. This situation would qualify as entrapment.

Once again, make sure you tell your lawyer every detail of your alleged crime and arrest. If they spot entrapment, they can use this evidence to help defend you.

If you’ve been accused of drug possession, reach out to our firm for a free, no-risk consultation. We may be able to take on your case and start crafting your defense right away. Our number is (866) 580-3089, and you can contact us online.