Although marijuana laws have lessened around the United States, Kansas still treats marijuana possession, cultivation, as well as sales or distribution as a serious criminal offense. A conviction can result in lengthy jail or prison sentences, expensive fines, and severe damage to your personal and professional reputation.
Fortunately, there are several ways to defend against a marijuana-related crime. If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana in Kansas, it is wise to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The following are the most common defenses for possession of marijuana:
- Illegal stop, detention, or search – If law enforcement illegally stops you in a vehicle or on the street and discover drugs either on your person or in the vehicle driver’s compartment, they must have a Constitutional basis for both the stop and the search. If either the detention or stop was unconstitutional, anything found during a search afterward was illegally obtained and needs to be suppressed.
- Unwitting possession – While a person may have actual possession of marijuana, this defense means they cannot be found legally guilty of possession because they did not know that they were in possession in the first place. For instance, if an individual gives a package to a messenger service which contains marijuana, and the messenger service is unaware that there are drugs in the package, then the messenger cannot be held liable for actual drug possession in the event the drug is discovered.
- Lack of possession – The police officers and prosecutor need to have evidence that you actually possessed marijuana in order to convict you. This defense is typically used when the “dominion and control” element for constructive possession is difficult for the prosecution to prove. For example, a car is pulled over with several people in it, or a house where the homeowner is absent but a renter is present, it would be harder to accuse just one person of drug possession. Since dominion and control are essential to prove constructive possession, denial of dominion and control would be, in effect, a “lack of possession” defense.
- Fleeting possession – This means possession that is only fleeting or transitory, which means the defendant never had dominion or control over the cannabis. For example, a friend takes out a small bag of marijuana and you handle it briefly to admire it before handing it back or laying it down. The prosecutor must show more than a brief “fleeting” possession of a substance.