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Defending against drug charges in New York

If you have been arrested on drug charges in New York, you have the right to an attorney and the right to defend against the charges in court. Whether you have been charged with drug possession or drug trafficking, you need an aggressive defense.

In New York, drug possession charges are divided into two main categories, controlled substances and marijuana. The elements of the various offenses within the two categories are generally the same. The prosecution must prove the substance seized is either a controlled substance or marijuana. The prosecution must also prove the defendant actually possessed the drug. The suspect's possession must have been knowing and intentional. The prosecution must prove all these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

In order to defend against a drug possession charge, a defendant must show that there is reasonable doubt as to one or more elements of the offense. If the defendant's lawyer can create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, the defendant may be acquitted.

In many drug cases the defense attorney can successfully challenge the constitutionality of the search that led to the arrest. If authorities did not have probable cause for a warrant, or if they conducted a warrantless search that did not fall within one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement, the drug evidence can be suppressed. Without the drugs in evidence, the prosecution's case will collapse.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney is very helpful for defendants facing drug charges. In many cases it is possible to negotiate a plea agreement which results in a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

Source: Findlaw.com, "New York Drug Possession Laws," accessed on Sept. 8, 2014

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