Possession of controlled substances is a felony offense in Missouri and can land you in jail. It’s important to understand the various legal defenses that may apply to your case so that you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.
Common drug possession defenses
If caught with drugs, you may be able to avoid the typical long-term consequences of drug possession by using the following defenses:
1. Illegal search and seizure
The law protects you from any unlawful search and seizure. If a police officer finds contraband during an illegal search, they cannot use it against you in court. The best way to protect yourself from unlawful searches is to assert your rights. To exercise your constitutional rights as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, you must announce that you do not consent to any search or seizure before an officer obtains any evidence.
2. A person did not own the drug
It is not sufficient to allege mere physical proximity to contraband to constitute drug possession. Possession of a drug requires the defendant to have dominance and control over it. You can refute proof of mere proximity with evidence of lack of control or by showing that others had access to or control over the drugs without approval from you.
3. It is not a controlled substance
An analysis of the evidence sent to a crime lab will allow the prosecution to prove the substance they seized is the illegal drug they claim it is. A criminal defense lawyer can call on the crime lab analyst at trial to testify if there are any discrepancies or errors in the report.
4. The individual has a medical exception
A medical exception is an extremely narrow way to defend drug possession charges, and it doesn’t apply to all illegal drugs. A medical exception might be allowed if an individual has a valid prescription for a controlled substance, meaning they are using it under a doctor’s orders.
5. The individual has good Samaritan immunity
Also known as Medical Good Samaritan, (medical) immunity from prosecution is usually reserved for those who call 911 when witnessing an overdose. People who call 911 to report an OD can plead Good Samaritan immunity. Essentially, these are instances where people get legal protection if they seek medical help instead of fleeing from a crime scene.
Drug possession carries severe penalties and can have lifelong ramifications. The penalties can include substantial fines and even imprisonment. The good news is there are several defense strategies you can use to protect your rights and freedom.