Constructive possession can be sole or joint, meaning either an individual or a group of two or more people can be charged with constructively possessing the same controlled substance. For example, two people living in the same house where only one bag of marijuana is found can both be held liable for constructively possessing the single bag.
Although laws differ from state to state, generally, knowledge has two components:
The ability to maintain dominion and control has been interpreted differently by almost every jurisdiction in the United States and the meaning often changes from case to case. Generally speaking, this is when you knowingly have the power and intention - directly, indirectly, or through another person - to control the whereabouts of the substance. Even if you do not have physical possession of the drug, you must be able to gain physical possession of it.
It depends. Remember, close proximity to a controlled substance is never enough to prove constructive possession.
If you are the sole occupant of the home or car where a controlled substance is found, your exclusive occupancy is often enough to evidence your ability to exercise control over the substance and your knowledge of its presence.
If you are not the sole occupant of the home or car, possession is slightly more difficult to prove. Where there is more than one occupant, there must be additional evidence, such as incriminating facts or circumstances, that shows both knowledge and control.
Every jurisdiction puts a different amount of weight on specific facts or circumstances, but these are a few examples of common links between a person and a controlled substance.
Even if any of these incriminating facts or circumstances are present in your case, you still have a number of controlled substance possession defenses available to you.
If you are accused of constructive possession of a controlled substance or any other drug crime, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Laws differ from state to state and constructive possession cases are extremely fact specific. Please speak to an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the complex legal system.
Last Modified: 01-23-2018 12:46 AM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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