Legal defenses to drug charges

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2023 | Blog, Criminal justice |

A drug charge can carry severe penalties in Arkansas. After an arrest, it is important to prepare a strong legal defense immediately.

With the right legal strategy, it may be possible to persuade a court to dismiss charges. Consider these examples of defenses to state or federally-prosecuted drug crimes.

Improper search or arrest

The fourth amendment protects individuals against unlawful searches and detainment. If law enforcement officers did not have any reasonable grounds to search or arrest someone and they then discovered drugs in that person’s possession, the drugs may be inadmissible. Without admissible evidence to prove that a defendant committed a drug crime, a case cannot go forward.

Insufficient evidence of possession

Prosecutors might have difficulty demonstrating that defendants possessed a controlled substance if it was not on their person or in an area where defendants had exclusive control and access. Simply being in close proximity to drugs is not probative of possession. Defendants may get a dismissal or a judgment in their favor by raising reasonable doubt as to whether they knowingly possessed drugs at the time of an arrest.

Unreliable testimony

In situations in which eyewitness testimony plays a key role in the state’s case of a defendant, calling the witness’ credibility into question could be integral to a successful defense. Witnesses who provided information to law enforcement officers or prosecutors in relation to their own drug arrests may be unreliable.

Ultimately, raising doubts about the admissibility or reliability of evidence may cause the state to fall short of its burden of proof in criminal proceedings for drug charges.