Indiana police officers searching or arresting someone for drug possession often hear claims that the drugs belong to someone else.
While that might be a common excuse people give, sometimes it is true. There are many situations where you could end up arrested for drug possession for drugs that are not yours.
Don’t fight it at the arrest
So, what should you do? The first and most important thing to remember is to not fight or resist the arrest.
If the drugs are not yours, you can work on proving that later in court, but you do not want to add a legitimate charge of resisting arrest.
Be polite and do what the police ask. However, do not answer any questions except for stating your name. Again, cops hear denials or excuses almost all the time when they are making an arrest. Protesting that the drugs are not yours will get you nowhere.
Say your name and nothing else
In fact, anything you say during an arrest can potentially be used against you. While you may think that a denial or apology could not be used against you, they can be.
Say nothing, do not resist and ask for an attorney. If you are ultimately charged with drug possession, it is time to begin working on a defense.
Someone else had access to the area
One of the best ways to defend yourself against a drug possession charge for drugs that are not yours is to show that you were not the only one who had access to the place where the drugs were found.
For example, if the drugs were found in a home or vehicle, show that other people had a key to the home or drove the vehicle that day and the drugs could belong to them. Remember that as in any criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that someone else had access to the place where the drugs were found can plant a seed of reasonable doubt that the drugs were yours.
Prosecutors who realize that they cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt may drop the charges, rather than go forward with a case that is likely to be a loser.
Lack of knowledge
Another potential defense is that you did not know the drugs were there. This is often the case when the drugs belong to someone else.
Perhaps you had a friend over, or gave them a ride somewhere, and they had drugs on them that they left with you, without your knowledge.
This might be more difficult to prove, unless the person to whom the drugs truly belonged is willing to confess, which may be unlikely.
Lack of probable cause
Defending yourself by attacking probable cause is another option. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states that you are protected from searches without probable cause.
Talk with a criminal defense attorney about probable cause and what it means. If it turns out that probable cause did not exist when the drugs were found, they must be excluded as evidence, regardless of whether they were yours or not.
Drug crimes in Indiana are taken seriously, and you cannot afford the penalties of having a drug conviction on your record, especially when the drugs were not yours.