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Can I really fight drug charges?

No matter who you are or what charges you are facing, it is absolutely worth it to fight drug charges with every tool at your disposal. The issue is not even one of guilt or innocence - it is rather about preserving your future.

Drug crimes carry shockingly harsh penalties, much more punishing than any other class of non-violent crime. Unless you've been under a rock for the last decade, you have surely heard one pundit or another discuss how America has more people incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses than for any other offense.

By fighting drug charges, you are investing in your future. A drug charge conviction can keep you from getting many kinds of jobs, from being able to rent many apartments, or even have far reaching effects like disqualifying you from adopting or fostering a child.

But can you really fight drug charges effectively? The short answer is yes. However, the strategy that is best for you depends on the individual factors of your case.

Are the charges erroneous?

Defenses to drug charges generally fall into two categories - erroneous components in the charges themselves, or improper procedure on the part of law enforcement.

If you are facing drug charges, there is a good chance that you were inaccurately charged.

You may face possession charges for drugs that are not yours to begin with. If you live in a house with several other people, for instance, it may be common for other housemates to keep drugs in your home, or for people who come through the home to leave drugs there. This is more common than you'd think, especially if your house is the site of a party.

If police come to the home and find drugs, they may easily charge you with possession by bad luck of the draw. Depending on the facts of the case, you may assert that the drugs clearly do not belong to you, you simply live in the home.

Similarly, it is possible that an overzealous or prejudiced officer sees something they believe is an illicit substance and charges you with possession when the substance is not what they think it is. It is possible to have a lab identify the substance and clear you of wrongdoing. This is also partially procedural - for the lab to test the evidence, the police must produce the actual substance in question. If they have misfiled it, that may disqualify the charges.

Another common defense is a medical exception. Even if you are legally allowed to carry and partake in a substance, like medical marijuana, an overzealous officer may not acknowledge this privilege. Proper legal guidance can help you reassert your rights.

Was there misconduct?

Law enforcement and prosecution have a burden to operate within proper procedures, and can be reasonably held to those standards. If your charges stemmed from improper actions on the part of law enforcement, or if law enforcement does not follow proper procedures after leveeing charges against you, you may be able to use this.

For instance, there are very specific laws about how police officers may search your vehicle or home. If they did not follow the law when doing so, this is leverage in your favor.

Also, it is possible that a police officer actually planted drugs on you, in your vehicle or in your residence. These cases are not simple to prove, but should not proceed without a fight. Fighting against corruption is a fight for all citizens, not only yourself.

Throughout the process of a trial or plea negotiation, you can insist on the prosecution producing the drugs in question, to make sure that they are dotting their i's and crossing their t's. If law enforcement has been sloppy and cannot produce the evidence, this may work in your favor.

Build a strong team for your future

Ultimately, there are many ways to fight just about any charge, but the best path will depend on the nuances of your case. With proper legal guidance, you can fight for your future and protect your rights.

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