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Is it ever legal to possess illicit substances?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Drug laws are fairly specific, because these substances are often known to cause addiction and other serious problems in society when left unchecked. Illegal substances, like street drugs, are generally illegal to possess, transfer or distribute at any time.

However, there are exceptions. For that reason, it’s important for officers and prosecuting attorneys not to assume the worst of someone who was caught with Schedule I drugs or others requiring special authority.

What exceptions might there be for possessing illicit substances?

There are several important exceptions that allow some people to be in possession of illegal or illicit substances. For example, scientists studying a drug may have some in their possession because it is part of their research. With the correct clearance and paperwork, this possession should not lead to charges, because they literally need these substances to complete their work.

Another time when it may be legal for someone to have drugs like narcotics in their possession is if they are a pharmacist or medical provider. Certain people working within hospitals or clinics have the authority to possess drugs that are closely monitored and restricted. For example, if a medical provider is delivering an illicit substance from one hospital clinic to another for research purposes or testing, it may be authorized for them to do so.

Others who may legally possess some types of drugs could include:

  • Police officers who have taken them from a person they arrested
  • Authorized personnel within a police station or forensics lab
  • Morticians, if they are removing those drugs from a person’s body or clothing following their death
  • Certain researchers or medical providers working with specialized studies or clinical trials

While many drugs are illegal to possess, the reality is that there is usually someone who can be in possession legally with the right clearances.

If you were in possession of an illegal substance but had authority to have it, then you deserve an opportunity to explain yourself and to defend your case. You may be able to successfully win your case and get back to living your life as you did before the arrest.

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