Tennessee has yet to get on board with the tide of drug decriminalization that is gaining momentum throughout the country. In fact, earlier this year, the state passed a bill expressly intended to stop any cities from passing local decriminalization measures. If you get caught with drugs on your person, in your vehicle or in your home in Tennessee, you will probably face criminal charges.
However, you can still fight those charges, and you should. Your future may suffer significantly if you receive a drug conviction, far beyond what a non-violent crime usually yields. Depending on the nature of the charges, you may have a number of defenses available, and you'll need all of them. Drug charges are serious business in Tennessee, and those who receive convictions often find they continue to see the repercussions for years afterward.
If you or someone you know faces drug charges, you should begin building your defense as soon as you can. The state prosecution is already building its case to seek a conviction, and every day you wait to build a defense means the prosecution is a day further ahead. An experienced defense attorney can help you scrutinize the details of your arrest and determine how to build a strong defense that uses the strength of the law to protect your rights.
Was the arrest appropriate?
Police officers are required to follow specific procedures to ensure that they do not violate your civil rights. In some instances, an officer may violate a person's civil rights by breaking with procedure during the arrest. If, for instance, you get pulled over and the police officer searches your vehicle without receiving your permission or citing cause, the officer may have searched your car illegally, and thus arrested you illegally.
You may similarly face arrest for drugs found in your home, whether they belong to you or not. In many instances, defendants may successfully argue that the drugs do not belong to them, if they can demonstrate that someone else may have left the drugs in the home. These are only some of the ways that an arrest may violate your rights.
Does the evidence withstand scrutiny?
Once you receive charges, the prosecution must still make a convincing case that you are guilty. This means that their evidence must bear out their allegations. One can test the evidence in a number of ways. For instance, it is possible to request that the drug evidence undergo laboratory testing to determine its composition.
First, this compels the prosecution to find and present the evidence for testing. Sometimes, drug evidence goes missing before it is used in trial, and the prosecution cannot actually produce it. Furthermore, the laboratory tests may indicate that the drugs themselves are not the drugs you face charges for possessing.
Act now to protect your future
However you choose to build your defense, do not wait. Begin building your defense today and make sure that you use every tool you have available to protect your future and your rights.