When you are charged with the possession of drugs, you may think that there’s not much you can do to defend yourself. After all, they found the drugs, right? Not so fast. Where the police found the substance in question makes a significant difference in your defense strategy. Here’s what you need to know about constructive possession and actual possession and how this can play a role in your case.
What is Actual Possession?
Actual possession is the simplest and the one that most people think of when they think of being arrested for the possession of an illegal substance. This type of possession occurs when law enforcement officials find drugs on your person — perhaps in a pocket or even in your hand. Actual possession can also occur when the drugs are found in a place that only the defendant had exclusive access to, such as in a gym locker that belonged to them.
What is Constructive Possession?
Constructive possession occurs when law enforcement officials find drugs in an area that multiple people had access to. For example, the glove compartment of a shared vehicle or in the living area of an apartment shared by roommates. The police may have reason to believe that you knew that there were drugs, but it may be difficult for them to prove that you put them there and only you had access to them.
When the Type of Possession Isn’t Clear
Sometimes, the type of possession isn’t clear at the outset of the case. For example, the drugs may be found in your pocket, but they are the jeans you borrowed from your friend. Or, the drugs may be found in your bedroom, but you allowed your roommate to have access to your bedroom to check on a pet while you were away. In cases where possession isn’t clear, it’s often a good strategy to argue that you had no knowledge of the drugs being present. In these scenarios, it becomes impossible for law enforcement to prove beyond a doubt that you and only you had access to the drugs and no one else could have possibly put them there.
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, don’t hesitate to get legal help as soon as possible. Your future is on the line and even misdemeanor drug charges can cause significant life changes. Contact T. Martin Knopes, P.A. for a consultation to learn about your legal options by calling (850) 683-0700.