Recreational use of cannabis has been legal in Oregon for a few years, but this does not mean the law goes easy on people found in possession with any other illegal drug. The penalties for those fond guilty of possession of illegal drugs are as high as ever.
Even those found with more than the legally maximum of cannabis can find themselves in serious jeopardy. The penalties can be much higher for repeat offenders or defendants charged with manufacturing or trafficking illegal drugs.
Searches and strategy
Most drug possession charges arise out of a search. in a common scenario, a driver is pulled over in a routine traffic stop, the police search the vehicle and find illegal drugs. The drugs are then used as evidence against the defendant.
It’s not easy to defeat this type of evidence. If the defendant was found to be in possession of something it was illegal for them to possess, what can they say in their defense?
For this reason, one important defense strategy focuses on attacking the constitutionality of the search.
The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the people from unreasonable search and seizure. If a search is found to be unreasonable, any evidence obtained during that search must be suppressed from trial. Without the drugs in evidence, the prosecution’s case against the defendant can easily fall apart.
That said, it isn’t always clear when a search crosses the line into unreasonableness. Courts have argued over this point for decades, and the state of law is always changing.
Everyone who is accused of a crime deserves a defense, and a defense based on the Fourth Amendment is often the strongest one possible. Those who are facing drug possession charges should talk to a lawyer about the circumstances of their arrest, and explore their options for defending their rights and protecting their futures.