Many states have legalized or at least decriminalized marijuana use over recent years. South Carolina still has not. While an attempt this year to legalize medical marijuana passed the state’s Senate, it failed to get past the House of Representatives.
Penalties are harsh, so if you are caught with marijuana, you need to look at all possible defense options. Here are a few to consider:
The drugs are not yours
Drugs in your car or house do not necessarily belong to you. Someone else could have put them there. That said, the prosecution may still try to charge you with constructive possession if they feel you knew about them, even if they accept they are not yours.
The police did not have a right to seize the drugs as evidence
Marijuana is illegal, so the police can take it and charge you if they see it, right? Wrong. It all depends where. You have the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment. The police cannot search your vehicle or property whenever they feel like it. If you can successfully challenge how they obtained evidence, a judge may decide they cannot admit it into court, making it harder to prosecute you.
The police made other errors
You still have certain rights once the police arrest you. For example, they cannot use violence to force a confession, they cannot deny you access to an attorney, and they cannot keep asking questions once you exercise your right to silence.
Other errors relate to the storing and cataloging of evidence. If they cannot show a clear chain of custody, a judge may again refuse to admit the evidence. Finding out more about your defense options will be crucial if you face drug-related charges.