Especially if you face drug possession charges for the first time, knowing what you are up against may help you prepare and even give you some peace of mind. There is a process for how your case will go, and standards that the prosecuting party must adhere to if they want to convict.
Of course, you should first understand that the seriousness of your criminal charge will influence case details – especially when it comes to sentencing. If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor drug possession crime, you could face a year in jail and court costs. For a third-degree felony conviction, you may face up to five years in prison. First-degree felony convictions could result in decades of imprisonment and very high fines.
What the prosecution must prove
To convict you, the prosecuting party must prove the following:
- The drug you were allegedly in possession of is illegal
- You knew the drug was illegal, or you should have known it was illegal
- You were in control of the drug’s location
Possible defenses against drug possession charges range quite a bit. You may not have known you were in possession of the drug, for example, or that it was a drug. It is also possible that the arresting police officer violated your Fourth Amendment rights and conducted an unlawful search in your home or vehicle.
Whatever your situation, taking the time to understand what may be in your future can help you get in the right mindset for your case.