Equal Access Defense in Georgia
The equal access defense applies to possession of illegal drug cases. While this is not the only argument that applies to possession of drug cases, it can be a very powerful one when argued correctly. The Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys understand the complexities of drug crimes and are familiar with a plethora of defenses. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case and to see if equal access applies to you.
Equal Access Doctrine
Equal access differs from other defenses because it is not given its power through a statute but instead through case law. In the case of Brown v. State, the Court concluded that merely finding contraband on premises occupied by a defendant is not sufficient to support a conviction if it affirmatively appears from the evidence that persons other than the defendant had equal opportunity to commit the crime. 244 Ga. App. 440, (2000).
Therefore, the doctrine of equal access is that if multiple people had access or could have had possession of illegal drugs, it is potentially impossible or highly difficult to prove that one person exclusively possessed the drugs.
An example where the defense of equal access was successful can be found in Davenport v. State. 308 Ga. App. 140, (2011). In that case, contraband was discovered in a vehicle with multiple people in the car. The defendant was acquitted of the charges of illegal drug possession because there was no evidence that he solely possessed the drugs when the others had equal access to the part of the vehicle where the contraband was found.
An example where equal access does not apply is if officers catch three people all using an illegal drug, then all three of them can be charged with possession.
The equal access defense is just one of many defenses that can be applied to your case. Contact the Law Office of Richard Lawson and his team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys and let us review the facts of your case. A charge is not the same as a conviction so let us work with you to provide the strongest defense available to you.