Strategies in Defending against Drug Possession Charges in Kansas

Being arrested in Kansas for the possession of illegal drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or other controlled substances can have serious and sometimes life-long consequences, including a felony conviction, long-term imprisonment, a permanent criminal record, and substantial monetary fines and penalties.  However, it is important to keep in mind that an arrest does not always result in a conviction.  With this in mind, there are a number of effective defense strategies, provided in more detail below, that can be implemented by a seasoned Kansas criminal defense attorney to help you safeguard your legal rights.

Keep in mind that everything spanning from the individual facts of your case to how the police conducted themselves during your arrest may impact (either positively or negatively) whether you are ultimately convicted or not.  However, there is a key distinction that can drastically affect the scope of defenses that may apply to your case.  Specifically, this distinction involves whether the prosecutor is building his or her case upon the actual or mere constructive possession of drugs.

Actual possession refers to when a person is arrested with drugs are found on their person, whether in their pockets, hands, or other bodily area.  Conversely, constructive possession refers to a situation in which an individual does not have drugs on their person yet, drugs are found in their vicinity, such as in their trunk or other places where these types of substances can be stored.  In other words, when drugs are found in these areas, it implies that they had the ability to exercise control over them.

With the above in mind, one of the most effective defenses to a constructive possession case is a lack of knowledge.  To illustrate, a prosecutor must prove that you knew that the drugs were present at the time they were uncovered by police (note that the prosecutor, in making his or her case, does not have to prove ownership of drugs to be successful in this regard).  This is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, and as a result, is a prime place to focus and develop your defense strategies.  Yet, if you were arrested for the actual possession of drugs, a lack of knowledge may not necessarily suffice as your strongest defense tactic.  Notwithstanding, there are other ways in which to attack an actual possession case.

In terms of defenses to actual possession, there are quite a few.  Specifically, if evidence in your case was improperly procured, and, this unlawful seizure led to your arrest, you could assert that it constitutes a Fourth Amendment violation of your rights.   Nowadays, most people are aware that evidence cannot be submitted to the court for the jury’s consideration in the event that it was improperly obtained (i.e. without a warrant).   An additional defense that can be raised to an actual possession case is that the substances found on your person are not “controlled”.  When this defense is asserted, the prosecutor must then prove that the “drugs” are in fact, illegally controlled substances, thereby warranting a potential conviction.  Moreover, defenses related to missing evidence or improperly handled evidence (by police during their investigation) may also provide effective defenses to your actual possession case.  Lastly, if you were unfortunately forced to transport or hold onto someone’s drugs at their forceful command, it may serve as an effective defense (for example, if you were held at gunpoint and ordered to transport drugs).

In light of the above, it is important to consider that each defense strategy defends upon the specific facts underlying a person’s case.  As such, if you are facing drug possession charges, you should contact a qualified Kansas criminal defense attorney immediately.  At the Whitman Law Offices, our legal professionals have successfully represented thousands of people facing all type of criminal charges in Kansas, no matter how challenging or complex.  Our attorneys will take the time necessary to review your case and advise you of the scope of your legal options.  We invite you to call us at (785) 843-9460 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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