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They Are Not Your Drugs … Or Are They?

Posted on in Criminal Law

They Are Not Your Drugs … Or Are They?, drug crime, criminal defense, drug posessionLaw enforcement officers stop you while you are driving on your way home or while you are walking around town. Before you know it, police have searched your person or your vehicle and discovered illegal drugs. When the officer holds up the baggie or container, your first response may be to say, “These drugs are not mine – I'm holding them for a friend (or family member).” Not only are law enforcement officers not likely to believe you – this is an excuse they have likely heard hundreds of times in their careers by individuals in a similar predicament as yourself – it also may not even matter if your statement is factually accurate. Here's why:

“Possession” of Drugs Does Not Necessarily Mean Ownership

Illinois law prohibits individuals from “possessing” illegal or prohibited drugs. Many individuals erroneously believe that they are not able to “possess” drugs if the drugs do not belong to them. However, the verb “possess” in the context of a drug crime has a very specific meaning: more specifically, it is possible to “possess” drugs if the drugs are found on your person or if they are in an area that is subject to your control. Carrying prohibited drugs in your pocket constitutes “possession,” as may driving a car with drugs in your vehicle's center console or cup holder. Even if the drugs were “owned” by another person for whom you were holding them, this does not negate the fact that you were found in “possession” of the drugs. What is more, the law does not prohibit multiple individuals from possessing the same drugs at the same moment.

What are Valid Defenses to Drug Possession Crimes?

Rather than assert that someone else “owned” the drugs, there may be other, stronger defenses available to your drug charges. These potential defenses include:

  • You did not know what the substance(s) you possessed actually was or were;

  • You were attempting to dispose of the drugs (so long, of course, you were not “disposing” of the drugs in an attempt to thwart law enforcement efforts);

  • You had a valid prescription for the drugs;

  • You did not know drugs were present (i.e., you borrowed the car from a friend and were unaware that drugs were in the glove box of the car);

  • Law enforcement officers discovered the drugs during an illegal search.

What To Do When You've Been Charged with Possession of Illegal Drugs

If you have been arrested and charged with possessing an illegal substance, you need prompt help from a knowledgeable Crystal Lake drug crimes defense lawyer. Even though possession of certain drugs may only be a misdemeanor, a conviction for such an offense can still make it difficult for you to obtain employment, remain in the United States, and/or maintain professional licenses. Contact the Illinois criminal defense firm of Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. We will swiftly but thoroughly evaluate your case and identify any potential defenses to the charges that you may have. We will mount a defense on your behalf, striving to help you obtain the best outcome possible in your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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