It is often unclear whether a particular individual is actually "in possession" of a controlled substance.
For example, in a recent case where a driver was stopped while operating a motor vehicle, the police found prescribed medications in the vehicle that did not belong to the driver. The prosecution charged the driver with Felony Possession of a Controled Substance. The driver's attorney (Todd Anderson) was able to show the prosecution that the defendant was not aware the medications were present — they had been left there by the defendant's girlfriend who had borrowed the vehicle. The charge was then dismissed.
In another similar case, a driver was knowingly in possession of a controlled substance and was also arrested and charged with a Felony. Once the case was studied by the driver's lawyer (Todd Anderson), it seemed doubtful that law enforcement was legally justified in stopping the vehicle. A motion was filed to suppress evidence, and after reading the motion, the prosecution decided to dismiss the possession charge rather than contest the motion in front of a judge. The defendant agreed to provide a DNA sample as part of the deal (which resulted in a complete dismissal of the charge).
Some drug possession cases can be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, and sometimes a defendant is allowed an opportunity to "earn dismissal".
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