Louisiana's drug possession penalties vary depending on how a drug is classified under federal law, the amount of the drug found and prior offenses. However, any drug possession conviction can cause severe consequences. The goal of a drug possession attorney is to get your charges dropped or reduced to something less serious. Here are three common defense strategies that could work in a drug possession case:
Defense Strategy #1: Illegal Traffic Stop
First and foremost, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or that another crime is occurring or has occurred in order to pull someone over. In addition, frisking is highly debated. If you are stopped, an officer may pat you down to check for weapons, but may not search your pockets unless their pat down gave them reason to believe you are carrying a weapon. If it can be proven that you were pulled over illegally or frisked without cause, then it could be used as a defense against your drug possession charge.
Defense Strategy #2: Illegal Search and Seizure
Unfortunately, there are many ways in which a law enforcement officer has legal rights to search your vehicle. However, unless an officer has a legal warrant or has probable cause to search you, your house or your vehicle, they must have your permission. You have the right to refuse a search. If it can be proven that the search was not justified or legal, then it could be used as a defense in a drug possession case.
Defense Strategy #3: No Possession
In New Orleans, with all of the festivals and parties, it is possible that you were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may not have had drugs on you, but it is possible that you were the closest person to the drugs at the time. In another example, if you were driving someone else's car during a search and an officer found drugs in the vehicle, then you could have been charged for drugs that were not yours. A drug possession attorney could argue that you did not have actual possession of the drugs in question.
These strategies will not apply to every drug possession charge. Every case needs to be evaluated by an experienced, drug possession attorney to figure out the best defense strategy for the situation.
If you have been charged with drug possession, then we recommend that you contact our New Orleans drug possession attorneys at Martzell, Bickford & Centola as soon as possible to discuss the charges. If your charges cannot be dropped, we could help get your charges reduced or assist in a plea deal. Call us at (504) 581-9065 or contact us online for a free consultation.