Drug possession can be a serious charge, depending on the amount and type of drug found in your vehicle, and being charged with a drug offence can be intimidating and scary.
If you have been charged with the offence of possess a prohibited drug, you will need to seek legal advice to reduce the likelihood of receiving a severe penalty, and a drug conviction.
Top criminal lawyers can defend you against a charge of drug possession, or if you wish to plead guilty, enable you to avoid a criminal conviction.
If you have been discovered with illegal drugs in your vehicle, there are a number of steps you can take to help minimise the consequences, and ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
In some circumstances, you may have grounds to request the police withdraw all charges against you, and your drug lawyer can advise you if this is a possibility.
Was the search legal?
Contrary to popular opinion, police are not allowed to just randomly stop vehicles, and search for drugs.
In order for a police search to be legal, police have to have a reasonable suspicion that illegal drugs are in the vehicle before the stop and search.
This suspicion needs to be fact-based, rather than just arbitrary.
If you can provide evidence that police did not have genuine reason to believe that you were carrying drugs in your vehicle when they stopped you, you may be able to successfully get the charges against you dropped.
Did you know the drugs were there?
It is not enough to be travelling in a vehicle that is carrying drugs; you also have to be aware that they are there.
If someone else left drugs in your car without telling you, and you were completely unaware of it, for example, you may be able to defend yourself against the charges.
In order to be found guilty of a charge of possess a prohibited drug, you need to be aware of the presence of the drug, and have control over the drug.
If drugs are found in the boot of your, car and you don’t have possession of the keys at the time, this can also be a valid defence.
Similarly, if a number of people have use of the same car, or if someone else recently drove the vehicle and drugs are subsequently found in it, you may be able to successfully prove that they weren’t your drugs.
Can you get a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order?
In certain cases, it is possible to plead guilty to drug possession but request that the case be dealt with under a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order.
This is where there is a finding of guilt, but the magistrate agrees not to record a conviction.
Your drug lawyer will be able to advise you on your chances of getting a non conviction order.
Some things that will help your case include if it is your first offence, if you can provide character references, and whether or not a criminal conviction will have a severe impact on your life or future employment prospects.
If you have been charged with possessing a prohibited drug in your vehicle, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer if possible before speaking to police.
Although the thought of a possible criminal conviction may seem overwhelming, it is possible that with the right legal advice and representation you may be able to avoid a harsh penalty, and have a positive outcome in your case.