If you have been arrested on charges of illegal drug possession , you may feel like your options are very limited. It may seem nearly impossible to consider anything other than your life and your future crashing down around you. While you should certainly take any criminal charges seriously, including those for drug possession, a dedicated lawyer can help you realize that a successful defense is possible and that the case is probably not as clear-cut as it may appear.
Burden of Proof
As with any criminal matter, proving your guilt is entirely up to the prosecution. In order to convict you of drug possession, prosecutors must show beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You knew the substance in question was an illicit drug or controlled substance; and
- You knew the substance was in your possession or within property under your control.
The second point also includes what the law refers to as “constructive possession,” which can be used in several scenarios. Constructive possession is defined as the legal possession of something without being in a person’s direct physical control. For example, if you and your roommate each have a key to a locked cabinet in your home and illegal drugs are found in that cabinet, you both could be charged with possession. Similarly, prosecutors may attempt to prove that drugs in the trunk of your car were under your constructive possession since the vehicle belongs to you.
Building a solid defense against drug possession charges , of course, depends on the specific circumstances of your case. We may be able to show, for example, that drugs in question did not belong to you and that you were not aware of their presence. Since it is up to the state to prove they did belong you, creating a reasonable doubt is sufficient. If drugs were found on your physical person, disputing actual possession may be a bit more difficult, but we can explore other defense options with you.
The other primary element of a drug possession charge is the manner in which the evidence against you was found. Drugs that were discovered and seized in an illegal search can lead to all charges being dropped. We can review the police records and appropriate documents to determine the validity of any search and fight to get improperly seized evidence thrown out, along with the charges of possession.
For more information about building a defense against drug possession charges, contact a tenacious Will County criminal defense lawyer today. Attorney Jack Zaremba is a former prosecutor who will use his knowledge and experience to help you avoid a conviction and protect your future. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, introductory consultation.