Defending Against Drug Possession Charges in California
California state law makes it illegal to knowingly possess, manufacture, or deliver certain controlled substances. California recognizes two separate crimes resulting from the illegal possession of a controlled substance: Possession of a controlled substance or analog; and possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver. If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, either with intent to sell or for personal use, a criminal defense attorney can help. A qualified drug crimes defense attorney may be able to challenge the facts of your case, test the evidence used against you, and identify procedural errors among other defense strategies.
What the Prosecution Must Prove to Convict a Defendant of Drug Possession
It is critical to note that the burden of proof in criminal cases is much higher than that of civil cases. The prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty of committing the alleged crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In order to convict a criminal defendant of drug possession, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:
- The identity of the controlled substance;
- That the defendant knew he or she possessed the illicit substance; and
- That the defendant had the substance in his or her immediate and exclusive control.
Drug Possession Defenses
Many of us have given a ride home to a co-worker or acquaintance. Some may even have given a lift to a hitchhiker or other complete stranger. What would happen if one of these people dropped an illicit substance in your vehicle and it was discovered by police? In situations like this, the prosecution may be unable to prove that the defendant actually knew he or she possessed the illicit material. Simply saying, “I did not know about the drugs” is not enough of a defense. You and your defense team will need to gather evidence to help convince the judge that you were not in knowing possession of the illicit substance.
Another possible defense against drug possession charges is that the substances were discovered in an unlawful way. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unlawful search and seizure. Police searches must meet certain requirements. If you were charged with possession after your property was illegally searched, this charge may be dismissed.
Contact a Santa Clara County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with drug possession, you could be facing jail time. Call the Law Firm of Wesley Schroeder to speak with an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney you can trust. Call 408-2770377 to schedule a completely confidential appointment today.