Drug Possession

Accomplished Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Clients Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance

Alabama law enforcement officers take an incredibly aggressive approach to all drug crimes, even those involving possession for personal use. In fact, Alabama is one of the states in which drug possession is considered a felony. Thus, a conviction for possessing heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine or even marijuana will mean you’ll end up with a felony on your record. This will affect your ability to find work, go back to school, and obtain certain professional licenses. A drug conviction will also render you unable to legally own a firearm under federal law.

At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., our Birmingham drug possession lawyer has more than 25 years of hands-on experience representing clients charged with simple possession and other narcotics offenses. While we understand the harm that drugs can cause, we also recognize that involvement in the criminal justice system isn’t the solution. Thus, we fight hard on behalf of each of our clients facing serious felony drug charges.

Alabama’s Drug Laws

Under Alabama Code § 13A-12-212, it is illegal for anyone to possess a controlled substance that is classified in Schedules I through V. It is also a violation to obtain any Scheduled prescription drug through “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge” or by altering or creating a fraudulent prescription.

Alabama law classifies all controlled substances into five groups called Schedules.

Schedule I – Includes drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, such as LSD, heroin, and marijuana.

Schedule II – Includes drugs that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, such as cocaine, methadone, PCP, and methamphetamine.

Schedule III – Includes drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, such as GHB and cough syrups containing codeine.

Schedule IV – Includes drugs with a lower potential for abuse than those listed in Schedule III, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Ambien

Schedule V – Includes those drugs that have the least potential for abuse, such as Gabapentin and cough syrups containing lower doses of codeine.

What Is the Punishment for Drug Possession in Alabama?

Alabama considers any drug crime a felony, even for simple possession. Under § 13A-12-212, possession of a controlled substance is a Class D felony, which carries a possible punishment of:

  • A jail sentence between one to five years; and
  • A fine of up to $7,500.

The only exception to this is for marijuana. Possession of marijuana for personal use is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor in the state. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. However, if you have a prior conviction for the possession of marijuana that wasn’t for personal use, a subsequent conviction for marijuana possession will be considered a Class D felony, even if it was for personal use.

Effective Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Birmingham

An arrest for a drug crime can feel overwhelming; however, there are several defenses that can help you escape the worst consequences of a criminal conviction.

Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement conducted a search without a valid warrant or without a valid exception to the warrant requirement, any evidence obtained during that search could be deemed inadmissible in court. This defense is often used when drugs were found during a search of a car or backpack or during a pat-down.

Lack of Knowledge

This defense argues that you did not know they were in possession of drugs. For instance, if drugs were found in a borrowed vehicle or in a shared living space, you may have been unaware of the drugs’ presence. Similarly, may be able to argue that the drugs belonged to another person (or the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they belonged to you).

Legitimate Medical Use of Marijuana

For marijuana offenses, you might argue that the possession was for a legitimate medical purpose. While Alabama’s laws regarding medical marijuana are restrictive, this defense could apply in specific contexts, especially if you have documentation from a healthcare provider.

Chain of Custody Issues

This defense focuses on procedural errors related to how the evidence was handled after law enforcement seized the drugs. If there are gaps or mistakes in the chain of custody, your Birmingham criminal defense attorney might argue that the evidence was compromised and is not reliable.

Are you Facing Drug Charges in Birmingham?

If you were recently charged with possession of a controlled substance, there is a lot on the line, and it’s important you find a Birmingham drug possession lawyer who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Jason Stoves has successfully handled countless drug cases both in Birmingham and throughout Northern Alabama. We take pride in protecting your rights and ensuring that your case has as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Stoves Law Firm, P.C. at (205) 823-7233, or you can connect with us through our secure online contact form

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