Individuals in Minnesota and throughout the country who are charged with drug crimes may have defenses to those charges. For instance, it may be possible to claim that an officer violated a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. Generally speaking, authorities can’t search a person’s car or other possessions without either obtaining permission or a warrant. However, authorities are typically allowed to seize anything that is in plain view.
An individual might also be able to assert that he or she possessed something that merely looked like marijuana or some other controlled substance. Typically, the substance must be tested in a lab to confirm that it is what authorities believe it to be. Furthermore, the person who ran the test will need to articulate his or her findings during a trial. If a prosecutor cannot produce the drugs that a person allegedly possessed, it may make it harder to obtain a conviction.
In Minnesota, a person may be given a permit to use marijuana to help treat certain medical conditions. If a defendant is facing a state charge, presenting that permit may result in that charge being dismissed before or during a trial. As marijuana use is prohibited at the federal level, a medical marijuana defense generally can’t be used by a person facing federal charges.
Individuals with drug charges may face significant penalties if they are convicted. These penalties may include probation, prison time or a fine. A person who is facing drug charges is generally allowed to have an attorney represent them as their cases go through the legal process. A legal representative may be able to cast doubt on witness testimony, lab tests or other evidence to get a charge dismissed or to negotiate a favorable plea deal.