Common Defenses Against Drug Charges

Pending drug charges do not automatically mean that you must go to jail. There are many potential defenses to drug charges, and it is important to understand your constitutional rights to invoke these defenses. Our Indiana drug defense lawyers will ensure that your constitutional rights are protected at every step of the criminal case process. 

Below are some of the most common defenses against drug charges. 

An Improper Traffic Stop

Police officers can seize drugs that are plainly visible in your vehicle, but this evidence cannot always be used against you at trial. In order to use this “plain view” doctrine, the officer must have a legal reason to pull you over. Without this valid traffic stop, the officers cannot lawfully see the drugs in plain view, and they cannot be admitted into evidence against you at trial. The same rule applies when an officer claims there is probable cause to search your vehicle. An officer who lawfully stops a driver can search the vehicle if they have probable cause to do so. But if the driver was not lawfully stopped, the officer never should have obtained the probable cause in the first place. 

These are complex legal rules that are detailed in decades’ worth of case law. If there is any question about why you were pulled over, you need to consult with a defense lawyer as soon as possible. It is possible to have a judge rule that the drugs cannot be entered into evidence at all. 

Search and Seizure Violations

We have already seen some of the complicated rules of search and seizure. In short, the Fourth Amendment requires that the government have a warrant (issued only with probable cause) to search your home or vehicle. Without a warrant, any evidence that is found cannot be used against you. There are, however, many different exceptions to the warrant requirement. If an officer searched your home, vehicle, or person without a warrant, they must have a valid exception to the warrant requirement. Otherwise, any drugs that were found can be kept out of trial. 


Entrapment is a difficult defense to prove, but it can be used effectively in cases involving drugs. Police stings are a popular law enforcement tool. In these stings, a defendant might be induced to commit a crime through the undercover officer’s actions. The prosecutor will argue that the defendant is entirely to blame for their conduct. But if the defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime and only did so because of the undercover officers’ actions, the entrapment defense might be available to them. 

Chain of Custody and Lab Issues

Prosecutors like to give the impression that any evidence the police give them is ironclad. Just because the police have evidence does not mean that the case against you is airtight. Evidence can be kept out of court if it is not reliable. The prosecution must show that the evidence was accounted for so that no one could have tampered with it. (This is known as a “chain of custody.”) Your lawyer will also have the opportunity to prove that the lab mishandled specimens, the equipment malfunctioned, or that there were any other irregularities in handling the drugs that are now being used as evidence against you. 

Seek Help from an Indiana Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

If you are facing drug charges, there are defenses that may be available to you, and the defense team at Arshad, Pangere & Warring can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

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