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You are not defenseless against drug charges

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Criminal Law

Alabama has some of the strictest laws when it comes to illegal drugs. Anyone arrested for a drug crime is rightly worried about what might happen and how the arrest will affect their future. But an arrest for a drug crime is not the same as being convicted of that crime and it’s important to understand that you may have options.

Harsh penalties

In Alabama, simple possession of a controlled substance is automatically a felony offense for many different drugs. Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine fall into this category and carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. If there is evidence that the accused intended to sell or distribute the narcotic, that sentence can skyrocket.

Evidentiary issues

When police find narcotics, it’s not often clear who the drug belongs to. Even when charges are filed against a particular individual, prosecutors must still prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high hurdle to clear. Frequently, narcotics are located where many different individuals had access to it, meaning it can be difficult to prove who actually possessed it.

Furthermore, if the charges involve possession with the intent to sell or distribute, proof becomes even more demanding. Prosecutors must not only prove that the individual possessed the drug, but they specifically intended to sell or distribute it. Getting into a person’s head and clearly showing what they were thinking of doing is no easy matter.

Constitutional issues

Police often locate narcotics following a search of the person, their car or their home. Law enforcement searches implicate significant constitutional search and seizure issues. Officers frequently fail to follow these laws precisely. When they do, evidence, including the drugs themselves, can be excluded from the case entirely. When this happens, the charges may be dropped because they can no longer prove the case.