As state and federal drugs laws have become more permeable recently, South Carolina residents may benefit from learning more about possible defenses against unfounded allegations from law enforcement. Even though drug laws vary from state to state, most defense strategies rely on similar defense tactics to try to exonerate clients of the charges. People who have been accused by police of possession of drugs or intent to sell may benefit from considering some of the defense strategies that are typically used in these types of cases.
The U.S Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement from searching or seizing illicit substances that are not in plain view. Any enclosure that is pried open or unlocked without the owner’s explicit permission often qualifies as a violation of the rights to due process guaranteed in the Constitution. Often times, these violations may concern improper search and seizure or breaking the chain of custody while collecting evidence.
Drug charges may be reduced or dismissed if a judge rules that officers unlawfully seized the evidence being used against the defendant. Some defendants are successful by challenging the facts presented by the prosecution or procedural errors that may have occurred leading up to the arrest or during the investigation. Some defendants are successful in refuting drug charges due to individual state laws concerning medical marijuana.
Lawyers may also be able to challenge the validity of tests performed by the crime lab. Sometimes, defense counsel is successful in putting the onus on prosecutors to prove that the drugs actually belong to the accused. If police are unable to recover or furnish the alleged drugs, defense lawyers might be able to get the charges reduced as well. Some suspects are exonerated if lawyers can prove the client was induced to commit the crime through entrapment committed by law enforcement.
Source: Find Law , “Drug Possession Defenses“, July 05, 2014