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How does constructive possession work?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2023 | Drug Crimes

Drug possession is one of the largest criminal charges in the United States. People who are found using, manufacturing or selling illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia may be charged with drug possession. A drug possession charge can lead to jail time and fines depending on the schedule of the drug. People who were charged with minor drug possession for personal use have seen prison and suffered from the long-term consequences of a criminal record. 

Many people don’t believe they’re at risk of criminal charges just because they know someone who does use or distributes drugs. However, people have been accused of drug crimes through a legal theory called constructive possession.

Constructive possession occurs when someone didn’t have possession of an illicit drug on their body, but did know about and have access to a place where drugs were stored. This legal theory can be hard to understand. Here are two examples that might help you understand how constructive possession work: 

Drugs found in a car

You may borrow a car from a friend who you know sells drugs for a living. Your friend stores their stash in the glove box. During a traffic stop, the police may search your car and find the drugs. Because you were driving the car, the drugs may be associated with you, leading to a constructive possession charge.  

Drugs found in an apartment

You could split an apartment with someone who uses drugs recreationally. The drugs your friend uses may not be legally obtained. If the police search the apartment and find the drugs in a public space, such as a bathroom, kitchen or living room, then you could face a constructive possession charge. 

A drug possession charge could affect your entire life. You may want to reach out for legal help to understand your options.