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Drug possession: What are some of your defense options?

While drug possession charges take place every day in Chicago and across the rest of the state, that doesn't do much to alleviate the fear and uncertainty that happens when you find yourself being arrested. Because the circumstances around each drug possession charge are so varied, there are many possible defense options for defendants to consider. It's important to get an attorney's advice on which defense strategy is the best option for your case.

One of the most common defenses is to claim that the officer's actions violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment right to due process and lawful search and seizure. The actions of all members of law enforcement are bound by what your country's and state's laws allow. This means that investigators, undercover agents and arresting officers all must follow the laws surrounding how a search and seizure can take place. In general, anything within plain view of an officer can be seized without a search warrant.

Some defendants may also be interested in a defense that hinges on the claim that the drugs were planted on the defendant's person or that the offense was committed under situations involving officer entrapment. Arguing that the drugs were planted can be very difficult as the courts tend to automatically assume that a sworn statement from an officer is reliable, but it may be possible in some situations if the officer in question has had previous complaints filed.

Entrapment can also be difficult to prove but is an option to at least consider if the drugs involved in the charges were provided by the state. These kinds of situations may be applicable in undercover sting operations or those involving criminal informants.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Defenses," accessed June 12, 2015

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