Adams Law Group, llc

Defenses to a Criminal Charge for a Possession Offense

There are many criminal offenses in Wisconsin based on what should be a simple concept: Possession.  Everyone knows the quote, “Possession is 9/10ths the law.” But the quote ignores the real question: What constitutes possession and what doesn’t?  The answer could mean the difference between a criminal conviction and an acquittal in a Wisconsin court.

There are several defenses to a possession case – whether it is a possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of narcotic drugs, or possession of THC.  The first set of defenses widely accepted by Wisconsin courts and juries are defenses based on the factual circumstances of where the alleged contraband was found in relation to the accused. For instance – many crimes of possession involve a car.  Everyone who owns a car has lost or misplaced something in it.  Possession defenses often relate to this common experience – i.e. the contraband belonged to another individual who left or misplaced it in the car without the accused’s knowledge.

Possession offenses that relate to contraband found in a home are different, but follow a similar train of thought – the accused individual may not have had knowledge of the contraband because it was left or misplaced there by another individual.  This defense has logical ends however – possession does not mean ownership – a person can be found guilty of possessing contraband that they did not own – only that they had the dominion and control over.  For an interesting list of factors a court may look to to decide whether a person is in possession of contraband can be found here.

Beyond factual defenses to possession, there are important legal defenses to a police investigation that resulted in contraband being found in an accused person’s possession.  The Fourth Amendment of the United States and the law that has arisen from courts’ interpretations of it have create a large catalog of rules that Wisconsin law enforcement must follow before engaging in any search or seizure of a person or their property which results in a possession charge.

An experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney will be able to advice you or your loved one about their possible defenses to a possession-related criminal offense.

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