Defending against possession of a controlled substance

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. After all, the outcome can have an enormous impact on your life, your career and your family. Charges involving controlled substances are fairly common but they are also frequently defensible.

The law regarding controlled substances

At first glance, Florida law is straightforward regarding controlled substances. All of the illegal drugs are listed in a number of statutory schedules and there are many of them. The schedules include both street drugs, like heroin or methamphetamine, and prescription drugs, such as Valium or Xanax. It is illegal to possess any of these drugs or, in the case of prescription drugs, to possess them without a valid prescription.

Why these charges can be more complicated

In possession cases, law enforcement often accuses someone of ‘constructive’ possession, rather than ‘actual’ possession. Actual possession might be where the drug is in someone’s pocket or purse, while constructive possession means the drug is simply nearby. The allegation is that, although the person didn’t have the drug directly on them, they exerted control over it. But the idea of control is not always as obvious as law enforcement makes it out to be, making this an issue which can often be contested.

Since drugs are usually found following a search of the person or their property, constitutional rights are invariably brought into the mix. Law enforcement has strict rules they must follow to avoid violating these constitutional rights, and the reality is they don’t always get it right. A sound defense strategy will analyze these constitutional issues – if a mistake is found, it could result in the case being thrown out entirely.