Alabama Drug Possession Defense Strategy
A person should know that an arrest does not mean a conviction. There are many ways to challenge and contest possession charges in Alabama and your drug possession defense lawyer will know how to build the best strategy for your case. However, once a person is convicted, there is no expungement of possession charges from his or her record.
Additionally, the penalties are very severe in Alabama, as such, it is very important to contact a good possession lawyer to discover the available options and defend his or her case moving forward.
In almost all drug possession cases in Alabama, several constitutional issues arise surrounding a person’s search and seizure rights. Typically a person is either subjected to stop and frisk or they are stopped in their motor vehicle.
Additionally, there can be search warrant issues which relate to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the State Constitution of Alabama. All of these things or ways of contact can be investigated to look for procedural or constitutional problems.
These stops give rise to the search and ultimate seizure of whatever drug a person is alleged to be in possession of and the legitimacy of the stop, and evidence found, as a result, can be called into question as a defense strategy for Alabama drug possession charges.
Another constitutional issue that tends to come up in drug cases in Alabama is the confrontation clause. A defendant has the right to demand the state put forward witnesses with the chemical analysis of the particular drug the person is charged to be in possession of.
Penalties in Alabama for possessing illegal drugs range across a broad spectrum. They can go all the way from a Class 1 Misdemeanor for such things as possession of marijuana for personal use, all the way up to serious felony prosecutions for possession of marijuana other than personal use or controlled substances.
For a misdemeanor marijuana possession, someone faces only a fine of up to $500 and up to 180 days in the city jail if prosecuted in the municipal court. However, that range penalty jumps dramatically if the case is prosecuted in the state court system. The fine can be up to $6,000 with a jail sentence of up to one year.
For Class D felony possession cases, someone can face anywhere from a year and a day to five years of incarceration and a $7,500 fine as well as five years of probation.
Long Term Consequences
Being convicted of a drug possession charge could have numerous severe impacts on a person’s life such as the inability to possess a firearm, potential prison sentences, the inability to vote in the state local or federal elections, and hampering job opportunities in the future.
Alternative Sentencing Programs
In Alabama, there are several ways or several options for alternative sentencing or diversionary programs in almost all district courts throughout Alabama. They are what we call drug courts.
Drug courts are special courts that are meant to divert the prosecution of drug charges. They give the defendant an opportunity to engage in rehabilitation programs, community service, and periods of good behavior.
If successfully completed, many times a simple possession charges can be dismissed through the participation in a drug court program. However, drug court programs are unlikely if a person has prior convictions for drug-related offenses.
An attorney will likely pursue this drug possession defense strategy in Alabama if it seems as if a conviction will occur.
Importance of an Attorney
A lawyer is well suited to evaluate and investigate a person’s possession drug case in Alabama to weigh the legalities of the search and seizure, the arrest, and to negotiate and mitigate a plea or a dismissal agreement with the district attorney. The attorney can also present all options for settlement to the defendant and maybe move the case forward to a trial or suppression hearing as a potential defense in an Alabama drug possession case.