Illinois residents facing charges of drug possession will have to prepare a defense. There are several strategies that might help a defendant, but choices depend on the specifics of the case. Here’s a look at some defenses often used in Illinois cases involving drug possession.
The drugs are someone else’s
A defendant facing drug possession charges can claim the drugs belong to someone else. Or they can claim they didn’t know the drugs were there. This defense isn’t necessarily as strong as some others. If prosecutors prove you had access to the drugs or had them in your control, that can possibly weaken this defense.
Illegal search and seizure
U.S. citizens have protection against unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides this protection. However, authorities can search your body or property in certain circumstances.
Authorities can seize drugs that are in plain view without needing a search warrant. But some searches are illegal without a warrant. For example, officers can’t break into your house and search for drugs without having a search warrant. If illegal search and seizure occur, that violates your Fourth Amendment rights.
Crime lab mistakes
Authorities must get a crime lab analysis to verify the identity of a drug. As a criminal defense, the defendant can call the accuracy of the crime lab analysis into question. Claims of discrepancies or errors in the analysis can possibly help the defendant’s case. It’s likely that the crime lab analyst will have to testify during the trial.
Breakdown within the chain of custody
After officers seize drugs, they store them in a locker or evidence room. A defendant can claim that the drugs presented as evidence are from another case. It’s also possible to claim that they were improperly handled by one or more officers during the investigation.
Drug possession charges are a serious claim. If you have legal counsel, you’ll have a chance to discuss possible approaches to use at a trial.