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Defenses to Ohio drug charges

The basic premise of our criminal justice system allows anyone accused of a crime the presumption of innocence, which means that it is necessary for the state of Ohio to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual facing criminal charges is guilty. Moreover, if you are accused of a crime such as the possession, sale or trafficking of drugs, you have the right to refute those charges and present a defense to them in court. This article will focus on some of the defenses to drug charges.

One defense is a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution against unlawful search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment bars law enforcement officials from conducting searches and seizing your property without due process of law — through the execution of a search warrant, or with your express permission, or if the property is in "plain view," which means that it is in a place that is easily seen by anyone. If a search is conducted and property is taken from you under any other circumstances, it may not be used as evidence by prosecutors.

Of course, it will be necessary for any substance seized that is believed to be an illicit drug to be confirmed as such. It is possible that testing of a substance could reveal that it is not a drug at all. However, even if it is identified as a drug through analysis, the person conducting the tests needs to prove to the court that his or her process did not somehow produce a false result.

In a situation where other people have access to your vehicle or home, there is a possibility that any drugs found may not belong to you. A prosecutor may be challenged to prove that you are the owner of the drugs and not anyone else. For instance, if drugs are found in your car, Ohio prosecutors need to prove that they belonged to you and not a passenger in the vehicle. It may be proven that you did not even know the drugs were in your car.

These are only three of the defenses to drug charges that are commonly used. Next week, the remaining defenses will be explored. Of course, this article is not meant to provide legal advice and only offers an overview of possible drug charge defenses, which may not be applicable to each particular case.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Defenses", , Aug. 22, 2014

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Defenses", , Aug. 22, 2014

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