Common defense strategies for drug possession

If someone is facing trial for drug possession, there is a lot at stake. The penalties can be high, and having the conviction on record can have long-lasting effects. To counteract the charges, a defense attorney may use a variety of defense strategies based on the specific situation. Some are more common while others are rare. 

According to Southern Methodist University Student Affairs, the offense and punishment for drug possession in the state of Texas varies based on the drug type and the quantity of drug the defendant possessed. The minimum punishment for the charge is a fine of up to a maximum of $2,000 and/or a jail term not to exceed 180 days. The maximum punishment is a fine of up to $250,000 and life imprisonment or a prison term of 10 to 99 years. 

FindLaw discusses some of the common defense tactics attorneys take when they are defending their client for drug possession. One is to say the defendant did not know about the existence of the drugs or that the drugs were someone else’s. Another common strategy is to argue unlawful search and seizure. If law enforcement officers obtained the drugs in an illegal manner, this often results in dismissed charges. 

A dismissal of the charges may also occur if the prosecution is unable to prove that the substance the officers found was an illicit drug or the drugs go missing during the transfer process. The defense may also argue that the police officer planted the drugs on the suspect. While harder to prove, it may be effective if the arresting officer has a history of complaints against him or her.