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Possession of a Controlled Substance

In the War on Drugs, the mere possession of one of the several substances banned by federal and Iowa law could land a person with time in jail.  If you’ve been arrested and charged with possession, you may think there’s little hope. But even if the police say they found drugs on your person, you can fight the charges.

Des Moines Drug Possession Lawyer

An experienced Des Moines drug possession lawyer can make a big difference between liberty and prison for those facing charges of possession of a controlled substance in Polk or Dallas County. The criminal defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have four decades of combined experience that they can put to work fighting your possession charges. We will challenge the prosecution’s evidence and seek to have your charges dismissed. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation.

We represent those facing drug charges throughout the Des Moines area, including West Des Moines, Johnston, Ankeny, and all of Polk County and Dallas County, and throughout the state of Iowa.

Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession in Iowa Drug Cases

The Iowa Controlled Substances Act and the federal Controlled Substances Act make it illegal to possess any of the long lists of narcotics the respective legislative bodies have chosen to ban, including heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, and LSD (acid), unless the person has a legally valid prescription or other legal justification.

However, possession is not limited to having the drug in your pocket or purse. Having the drug on your person is called “actual possession.” Prosecutors, however, can also seek charges for what is called “constructive possession.”

Constructive possession means that the drugs were found in a place where the suspect had exclusive control. For instance, narcotics in the trunk of a car may not be within reaching distance of the driver, but prosecutors will argue that the driver was the only person that could have put them there and the only person with control over them. The same argument may apply to drugs found in your glove compartment, luggage, or dresser drawer.

Punishment for Narcotics Possession in Polk County

A conviction for any possession charge can lead to jail time. A first offense is a misdemeanor but can have a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,875. The second offense is also a misdemeanor, with up to a two-year sentence and fines of up to $6,250.

The third offense, and any offense after, is a felony, with a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500.

Jail time and fines are not the only possible consequences of a drug conviction. You will also have a criminal record for the rest of your life that may prevent you from getting certain jobs or educational opportunities.

Defenses Against Des Moines Possession Charges

In most possession charges, the prosecution’s main physical evidence is the drug itself. Without that evidence, it can be very difficult for prosecutors to prove their case, and they could simply drop the charges.

Police often obtain that evidence through a search. When officers conduct a search, they must be very careful to follow certain rules and procedures. These are in place to protect suspects’ constitutional rights. If they fail to follow them, any evidence may be ruled inadmissible in court. Your Des Moines drug defense lawyer will carefully review the details of the search and arrest for any procedures the police failed to follow.

Additionally, even in a misdemeanor case, prosecutors must prove all charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney can show the reasonable doubt that might exist. For instance, in a case involving constructive possession, your lawyer can show the jury that someone else may have had access to the space alleged to be under your control.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Possession of Controlled Substance Attorney

Possession charges have serious ramifications, but you can fight them. A Des Moines drug possession lawyer can make the difference between liberty and jail time. The experienced attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can put their skills to work for you, defending you against the charges and seeking to have your charges dropped. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 for a free consultation.