If you hold a valid prescription for a controlled substance, that is a defense to illegal possession. Also if you have the authority to hold a substance for another person who has a valid prescription, that is also a defense.
Constructive possession means possession that is not on the actual person. In other words, its not in the person’s hands, pockets, or within ready reach. If an item is not in the actual possession of a person, the State has to prove the person knew of its presence and had the ability to control the item. If the item is found in a concealed place such as the trunk of a car and there are multiple people in the car, and there is no other evidence showing who the item belongs to, the State would not be able to prove possession. Keep in mind that joint possession of a controlled substance is also possible.
- Lack of knowledge as to the illicit nature of the drug
This is an affirmative defense that has to be raised by the defendant. It means that the person did not know that the substance was an illegal drug. Keep in mind that ignorance to the law is not a defense and that the jury is allowed to presume the person was aware of the illicit nature of the controlled substance if he/she knew of the presence of the substance and exercised control or ownership over it.
Usually the State will have to test the drug and show proof of the chemical make up of the drug. This testing is usually done by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The State will usually have an analyst come in and testify as to the testing results. The Defense can sometimes request independent testing upon reasonable grounds.
Entrapment by the government is an available defense but it is very difficult for the Defense to prove. The Defense must show that the Defendant was not predisposed to the action and that is often difficult to do. The entrapment defense is typically put forth in a pretrial motion to dismiss.
- Illegal Search and Seizure
Probably the most common way to “beat” a drug charge is to challenge the legality of the police action which lead to the discovery of the drug. If the traffic stop which lead to the arrest was illegal, the drugs may be suppressed from evidence and therefore inadmissible at trial. Once the drugs are suppressed, the state usually must drop the charge.
There are ways to defend a case at trial other than those discussed above. The prosecution must prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt and there are many ways to poke holes in the case. I have obtained not guilty verdicts on several drug cases. Each case is different and requires a defense tailored to the specific facts at hand. Call me today to discuss your case and see what defenses you have!