What Types of Defenses are Available for Drug Crimes in Mississippi?

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If you have been charged with a drug crime in the state of Mississippi, you may feel as though there is little hope for your future. While the charges certainly are serious—and should be taken seriously—there are defenses your drug crime attorney can use on your behalf in order to lessen the potential penalties. First, however, there are a broad range of charges associated with drugs.

You may have been charged with drug possession, which is certainly one of the more serious types of drug crime, or possession with the intent to distribute, which can bring even harsher penalties. Perhaps you were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which, in the state of Mississippi, actually carries heftier penalties than a conviction for possession of smaller amounts of marijuana. Whatever type of drug crime you have been charged with, your Mississippi attorney may incorporate one or more of the following defenses:

Unlawful or illegal search. Courts generally ask whether the person who was searched had a reasonable expectation of privacy in order to determine whether the search was illegal. This reasonable expectation of privacy is tied to whether society as a whole would recognize some sort of privacy in the matter at hand. That being said, law enforcement officers are generally allowed to take photographs from the air above your home, or to eavesdrop on your conversations in an attempt to gather enough information to obtain a warrant. However, the more sophisticated the listening device or photography equipment, the more likely a warrant will be necessary prior to conducting a search of your home.

The drugs did not belong to you. There are some instances where this can work as a defense, however the theory of constructive possession may allow a person to be found guilty, even if the drugs really were not yours. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, your attorney may be able to use the “unwitting possession” defense. This means that even if you were in possession of the drugs, you were unaware of the presence of the drugs. This could happen if you had friends in your car, and one of them left drugs behind—a fact you were unaware of—or if someone borrowed your jacket and left drugs in the pocket. Lack of possession, however, can be used as a defense to constructive possession, if it can be shown that you had no “dominion and control” over the drugs—you did not have the ability to control the drugs.

Evidence goes missing. In more cases than you would think, evidence goes missing. This can seriously weaken the prosecutor’s case, and may occur when the evidence is transferred from one place to another. If evidence is missing in your case, your attorney may ask that the charges be dropped altogether.

The “drugs” in question are not actually an illegal substance. Sometimes a substance resembles a drug, but is not. Chemical lab tests can prove the substance really is not an illegal drug.

You did have drugs on your person, but were forced, through duress or coercion, to carry or hold the drugs for another person.

Immunity—If you were arrested on possession of an illegal substance only because you called to obtain medical assistance for an overdose, you may be protected under the drug overdose immunity law.

Police abuse of power may be an issue when the drugs you are accused of possession were planted, or in the case of entrapment—you were induced into buying drugs by an undercover police officer, when you would not normally have done so. That being said, it is relatively difficult to prove either of these abuse of power issues, particularly since the police are allowed to use deception in order to make a drug arrest.

Is Drug Possession a Felony or Misdemeanor in the State of Mississippi?

Whether your drug possession will be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on the amount of the drug, and the type of drug. As an example, for Schedule I and Schedule II substances, possession of less than one-tenth of a gram could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, when all the circumstances are taken into consideration. Possession of more than one-tenth of a gram of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug will be charged as a felony.

Whether your possession was for personal consumption or for sales or distribution will also factor in to whether you will be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, as will whether this is a first drug offense for you. Whatever the circumstances, it is extremely important that you have an experienced Mississippi drug attorney by your side from start to finish, protecting your rights and defending you zealously.

Contact Our Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with any type of drug crime in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These are serious charges and must be fought aggressively. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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