Jeffrey E. Johnston

How people may defend against drug charges

When Georgia residents are taken into custody on charges of drug possession, they might choose among several options for their defense. These would broadly fit into the categories of either procedural defense or one that challenges the prosecution's evidence.

One of the main types of procedural defenses might be if the search that led to the seizure of the drugs was illegal. If law enforcement pulls a car over and the drugs are in plain sight, this is probably not a procedural error. However, if drugs are only recovered after an extensive search that a person did not agree to, it could be. Charges are usually dismissed when there is an error of this type. A person might also allege that the drugs were planted or that entrapment occurred if the person was pressured into accepting the drugs as part of a law enforcement operation.

Defense attorneys may want to follow up on crime lab testing and make sure that the substance seized is an illegal drug. They should also make sure that the drugs are not lost between the time of the person's detention and trial. These situations usually also lead to dismissal. If there are no grounds for dismissal, a person might also argue that the drugs belonged to someone else. An attorney may be able to assist a person in deciding on the best strategy for countering the allegations.

It is important to take drug possession charges seriously, because they can have both legal and other consequences, but people should not assume that if they are taken into custody on drug charges they do not have options. In some cases, a plea bargain may be offered, but people may want to discuss this with an attorney before accepting it. A plea bargain can be helpful in some cases where a person does not have a strong defense since it may lead to a less severe sentence.

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Jeffrey E. Johnston

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