Marijuana possession in California is a criminal offense that may be punishable by incarceration and fines. Possession is an infraction unless you are charged with handling more than 28.5 grams of marijuana; having more than 28.5 grams is a misdemeanor offense. If you were charged with drug possession, a criminal defense attorney can help you determine the best defense strategy to help you avoid these penalties.
The Marijuana Doesn't Belong to You
If you were charged with marijuana possession, law enforcement must be able to demonstrate that that the drugs belonged to you, not someone else. For example, police may find marijuana in your car, but that doesn't mean it's yours. Someone else may have left it there, or it could belong to a passenger. The prosecution must demonstrate that the drugs belonged to you to gain a conviction.
In the United States, police officers are allowed to conduct sting operations, but they can't entice a person to commit a crime that he / she may not have otherwise committed. This is "entrapment." For example, an undercover police officer cannot persuade a suspect to distribute or sell drugs that he / she didn't intend to pass along to a third party.
Lack of Evidence
After a marijuana possession arrest, the drugs in question may be passed along to a crime lab. In fact, law enforcement could transfer the drugs several times before placing them in an evidence locker. During this time, it is not unusual for some or all of the evidence to be misplaced or go missing. If the evidence no longer exists during the trial, the case could be dismissed.
Unlawful Search & Seizure
Your Fourth Amendment rights guarantee "due process of law" before, during, and after your arrest. If police violated these rights at any point before your arrest, the drugs in question may not be used as evidence against you in court. For example, police cannot search your vehicle without permission or probable cause. If they do, the marijuana may not be admissible in court.
Arrested for marijuana possession? Our team of Ventura criminal defense lawyers can help you avoid a conviction. To learn more, contact us and schedule a consultation regarding your case.