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Elements of a drug possession charge

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Drug Charges

Any conviction on illegal drug charges can be a serious legal matter in Illinois, even including marijuana in large quantities. Outlets that sell cannabis are required to be registered and approved by the state, and anyone with more than the allowed amount can be prosecuted for trafficking even when the drug is not packaged for distribution. In addition, being caught with other higher scheduled contraband can result in serious incarceration time and a felony criminal record. However, law enforcement officials must still use proper protocols when filing charges.

Lawful search and seizure

The first necessary element of a drug possession charge is a lawful search. In order for the state to file valid drug charges against a suspect, officers must first have obtained the physical evidence in accordance with established search and seizure protocol. The evidence gathering generally should follow the non-governmental interference guarantees of the 4th Amendment with respect to privacy. There are also rules regarding reasonable suspicion before any probable cause search can be conducted, and most searches outside of the “plain view” rule require a warrant for lawful drug confiscation.

Accurate warrants

Searches that are conducted on private property must be performed by warrant authorization after a formal affidavit is filed with an Illinois judge. The officer must state all verifiable facts that support their reasonable suspicion that someone has drugs in their possession. Additionally, the warrant must list the individual they are looking for, what contraband they are attempting to seize, and the exact details on the property being searched for drug charges to be prosecuted following the execution of an arrest warrant.

Never accept the concept that a drug charge in Illinois cannot be successfully defended. There are significant rules that must be followed for the arrest to stick, and many times a technicality can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.