Police in Verplanck, New York recently arrested two men, an 18-year old and a 20-year old, for possessing illegal drugs. The drug charges included misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of a hypodermic instrument. Both men were arrested at the same time in Peekskill, New York. The 18-year-old man was accused of possessing heroin, and the 20-year-old man of possessing cocaine, according to New York State Police.

In drug possession cases, it is important to review the constitutionality of the search and seizure of the evidence. For contraband to be legally seized it must either be seized by police with a valid search warrant or the search must be fall within one of the narrow exceptions to the warrant requirement. The evidence may be excluded from trial if it is proven that it was obtained illegally, in order to protect the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The severity of the punishment for drug offenses often depends on how much of the illicit drug is found and whether or not there was any intent to sell or traffic. Drug possession with the intent to sell is generally treated much more severely by authorities than simple possession. This is to distinguish between low-level drug offenders and those actively involved in the sale or distribution of narcotics.

Drug possession is a serious matter, whether it is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony. The consequences can include jail time, fines, and a conviction on one’s permanent record. Fortunately, anyone accused of drug possession is entitled to an aggressive criminal defense. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he or she may question witnesses and challenge the admissibility of evidence. Those accused of drug possession should know their rights.

Source: Cortlandt Daily Voice, “Two Verplanck men face misdemeanor drug charges,” Jessica Glenza, Jan. 11, 2013.