Possession, manufacture or distribution of illicit drugs can lead to drug possession charges, fines and incarceration. Penalties may worsen depending on the schedule or severity of drugs.
Many people know others who may use drugs, whether they are illicit or prescription, but don’t use them themselves. It can be assumed that their acquaintances’ use may not affect them. However, a legal theory called constructive possession can connect people to illicit drugs possessed, used or distributed by others. Constructive possession means that a defendant may have had reasonable access and knowledge of illegal drugs.
Constructive possession can be a difficult theory to understand. Here are a few examples that may help explain how someone could be charged with constructive possession:
1. Sharing a car with someone with a prescription drug
You may have let a friend borrow your car. After your friend returned your car, you noticed they left their prescription drug behind. As you went to return them, you were pulled over and an officer found the drugs. The police only know that the drugs aren’t yours and may assume that you were using or selling them, leading to a constructive possession charge.
2. Living with someone who deals drugs
You may share an apartment with someone who you’ve seen sell drugs. You assume your roommate makes a living selling drugs. But, the police search your home after presenting a warrant and find drugs in the living room and bathroom. You could face a constructive possession charge because you were on the lease and the drugs were found in a common area, so you feasibly had control over them.
Drug possession charges can leave a lasting impression on someone’s permanent record. It can help to reach people out for legal help to learn about defensive tactics to reduce charges.