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Common Drug Possession Defenses


Facing drug possession charges – no matter the amount of narcotics involved – is a serious matter in Illinois. A conviction can lead to a long jail or prison term, fines worth thousands, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. 

To give yourself the best chance to avoid conviction or having to serve any time behind bars, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and freedom. Your lawyer can listen to your story, assess the facts and circumstances of your case, and determine the available legal defenses to use to gain a positive outcome in your case. 

The following are the most common defenses to drug possession charges: 

  • Illegal search and seizure – The Fourth Amendment protects our right to due process and privacy, which includes legal searches and seizures conducted by law enforcement officials. In order for a search to be lawful, police officers must either obtain consent from the suspect, find incriminating evidence in “plain sight,” establish probable cause that a crime is taking place, or get a warrant to search the person or property. Failure to do any of those actions before performing a search is against the law and any evidence gathered from the illegal search is inadmissible in court. 

  • The drugs were not yours – Known as the “unwitting possession” defense, this means you did not know you were possessing drugs at the time of your arrest. For instance, if you borrowed a friend’s car and you get pulled over by the police, if you they find drugs in the vehicle, you cannot be held liable for possession because you had no idea there were drugs inside in the first place. A similar defense is known as “lack of possession." For example, if the police pull over a car with four people and find drugs in the vehicle, it is difficult to prove the person in possession of the narcotics. 

  • The drugs were not what they appeared to be – A Ziplock bag of flour or herbs can be misconstrued as narcotics. You can establish the harmful nature of the product by having your lawyer obtain lab test results and get the case dismissed. 

At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our Chicago drug crime attorney has more than two decades of experience and a proven track record of success helping clients get the most favorable results in court. Attorney Fine can investigate your case, collect and examine evidence, and develop an effective and personalized defense strategy on your behalf. 

If you or a loved one was recently arrested for drug possession in Chicago, contact us today at (312) 436-0638 for a free consultation.