Fight Back Against the Charges
If you face drug possession charges in Alabama, you must take the charge very seriously. Drug possession is generally a felony offense in Alabama and can carry severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000 per offense. However, there are defenses available to those charged with drug possession. Keep reading to learn some of the most common defenses to drug possession charges in Alabama.
Challenging the Evidence Against You
If the prosecution's case against you is based primarily on physical evidence, you can potentially use several defenses to fight against that evidence. For example, if the police found drugs in your car during a traffic stop, you could argue that the stop or the search was illegal and that the evidence should be suppressed. Alternatively, depending on the circumstances, you could argue that the drugs don't belong to you - perhaps they belonged to a passenger in your car or perhaps you were driving someone else’s car at the time and had no way of knowing he or she had left drugs in the car.
If the prosecution's case against you is based primarily on witness testimony, there are also multiple defenses that you can use. For example, you could attempt to show that the witness is mistaken or lying. Furthermore, you may work to impeach the witness's credibility by pointing out inconsistencies in his or her story or introducing evidence of a motive he or she may have to lie.
Of course, every case is different, and the best defense will depend on the specific facts of your case. If you're facing drug possession charges, it's crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you develop the best defenses for your particular situation.
Illegal Search and Seizure
One of the most common defenses to drug possession charges is that the police conducted an illegal search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If the police act in a way that violates your Fourth Amendment rights, any evidence they find as a result of the illegal search and seizure can be suppressed (excluded from trial).
Suppression issues are decided by the judge. Therefore, in order to successfully challenge a search and seizure and have evidenced ruled inadmissible, you must prove to the judge that the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights in obtaining the evidence. Proving this usually requires showing that the police did not have either a valid warrant or probable cause to conduct the search.
Lack of Knowledge
If you did not know that the drugs were in your car or home, you might be able to avoid a conviction by arguing that you did not have possession of the drugs. To succeed, you will need to prove that you had no control over the drugs, or that you lacked constructive possession of the drugs, and that it would have been impossible for you to know they were there.
For example, if someone else put the drugs in your car without your knowledge, you may not be found guilty of unlawful possession of those drugs, even if the police found the drugs while searching your car. Similarly, if you let a friend use your home and they left drugs there without your knowledge, you may be able to avoid a conviction for unlawful drug possession.
Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana
In Alabama, possession of an amount of marijuana small enough to be deemed only “for personal use” is a misdemeanor offense. Alabama Code Section 13A-12-214 codifies this as Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree and classifies it as a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in the county jail and fines not to exceed $6,000.
While the law does not define how much marijuana constitutes “personal use”, if you are caught with a small enough amount of marijuana, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to prevent you from having to serve any jail time, and can potentially work to have the charge dismissed after completion of certain programs.
Work with a Drug Charge Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. A seasoned attorney will know how best to defend you against the charges and help you avoid a conviction.
At Revill Law Firm, our team works hard to defend our clients against the charges they face in order to dismiss or reduce them. Learn more about how we can help or schedule a case review by calling (205) 928-6544 or visiting our website.