If someone is facing Utah marijuana possession charges, they have several defenses. Most involve a motion to suppress an illegal seizure that violates a person’s Constitutional rights. Read further to learn about potential defenses to marijuana possession charges.
Illegal Search, Detention or Stop
If police illegally stop a vehicle and find drugs on a person or in the car, they must have a Constitutionally acceptable reason for the stop and the search. If either was unconstitutional, an attorney can file a motion to suppress any evidence found, and the case will likely be dismissed.
Invalid Search Warrant
Many drug cases, particularly those involving cultivation of marijuana, are dismissed because of issues with the search warrant. If a warrant has specific problems, the search will be ruled unconstitutional and the evidence will be suppressed. A warrant can be ruled invalid because of an insufficient probable cause, false information from an informant, or when the police exceed the scope of the warrant itself.
To convict a person of drug possession, the police and the prosecutor must prove that they actually possessed it. This seems elementary, but it’s surprising how often the police fail in this regard. There are two kinds of possession: constructive and actual. Constructive possession occurs when drugs are found in a person’s vehicle, home, or place of business. Actual possession happens when someone is found with drugs on their person.
This defense typically works well when a person was unaware of the presence of drugs. It often occurs during a traffic stop when a passenger has slipped drugs into another passenger’s or the driver’s possession.
To prove that someone possessed drugs, the prosecutor must demonstrate that they did so for more than a short time. For instance, if a person handles a bag of marijuana for a few seconds before handing it back to a friend, the possession was fleeting and an attorney can claim that the defendant never had control over the drugs.
There’s not enough room here to list all the potential defenses to marijuana possession charges. If someone is facing such charges or they’ve gotten a DUI, they can benefit from a consultation with a St. George Utah DUI lawyer.