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What are the elements of a drug possession charge?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2018 | Drug Crimes

Drug possession charges can have serious and even life-long repercussions on the futures of those who are forced to face them. When Virginia residents are convicted of these crimes they may lose many of the privileges that men and women in free society enjoy as they are incarcerated for their alleged crimes. This post will discuss what drug possession actually is and what defenses individuals may be able to assert to avoid conviction.

A drug possession charge generally will involve to elements that prosecutors must prove to prevail at trial. First, a person must actually know that the substance they have in their possession is illegal. For example, if a person is given a bag of a substance and is told that it is a safe or legal item, then the possessor may not have the requisite knowledge needed to secure a conviction.

Second, in addition to having knowledge of the illegality of the substance in question, a person must have knowledge that the substance is under their control or in their possession at the time they are arrested. Just being near a drug may not be enough to prove this element; knowledge is a key component of both elements of drug possession charges.

When faced with a claim of drug possession a person can assert different defenses based on the facts of their case. They may claim that the drugs were not under their control or that they were planted on them without their knowledge. They may also claim that the search that led to the discovery of the drugs was illegal and that the evidence should therefore be thrown out. Defending oneself against drug charges can be supported by the help of a criminal defense attorney.

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