A drug possession charge is typically a serious offense that may have a profound impact on your life. If convicted, you may spend time in a New York jail or prison. You may also spend time on probation either in lieu of going to jail or in addition to any time that you may serve. Fortunately, there are many defenses to the charge that may help you avoid some or all potential penalties associated with it.
You have rights
Any evidence that is obtained in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights may be ruled inadmissible at trial. Generally speaking, authorities cannot search you or your belongings without a warrant if you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. It is important to note that anything left in plain view may provide an officer with the right to seize an item or to expand the scope of a search.
Chain of custody matters
If there is any doubt as to who possessed a substance removed from your home, it may result in that evidence being suppressed. For instance, if an officer can’t be sure that a given item was actually seized from your home or car, there is no way of knowing if you ever possessed it. It may also be possible to have witness testimony or other evidence suppressed as part of your criminal defense strategy.
If convicted of drug possession, you may find it difficult to find housing, get a job or enroll in school. Therefore, it’s generally in your best interest to defend against the charge even if you don’t think that you’ll go to jail if convicted. In some cases, enrolling in a drug diversion program may result in a charge being dismissed assuming that you successfully complete it.