Few things can ruin a promising young life like a drug possession conviction. Although the public perception of recreational drugs continues to shift as injustices in drug-related law enforcement come to light, the current laws we use at a federal level are harsh, and can change a person’s entire future trajectory.

If you face drug possession charges, you need to begin building your legal defense immediately. The longer that you wait to build a defense, the more time that you give the prosecution to build its case against you, and the less time you have to understand the evidence supporting the charges. No matter how bad the situation may seem, it is never wise to face drug charges without some form of defense. Your rights deserve protection, and you have more ways to protect them than you may realize.

Scrutinize the arrest

It is possible that your charges arose out of an improper arrest in Richmond, or because of insufficient circumstantial evidence. For instance, if your arresting officer violated your rights while searching or detaining you, then you may have grounds to challenge the charges.

Similarly, you may face possession charges for drugs that belong to someone else, or that someone left in your home without your knowledge. Just because the evidence seems strong at first does not mean that it holds up to scrutiny.

Demand proper testing of the evidence

If you face drug possession charges, then the arresting officer claims they collected physical evidence against you, removing drugs from your possession. However, there are many ways that an officer may misidentify legal substances as illegal drugs or misfile evidence after taking it into custody.

A good way to challenge the evidence is to request that it undergo laboratory analysis to determine its composition. First, the prosecution must produce the drugs in question for the testing. If they cannot produce them, you have an opportunity to undo the charges.

If they do produce the evidence, testing it may show that it is not the substance you face charges for possessing, or may return inconclusive results.

It is wise to consider all your options as you approach your defense. Law enforcement and courts often punish drug offenders with penalties far harsher than any other non-violent offenders. You must take special care to build the best defense you can to keep your rights secure and your future opportunities open.