In Possession Of Someone Else’s Prescription Drug

If you are accused of illegally possessing drugs this is a serious crime in the U.S. that will likely carry severe consequences. These penalties could include from months to years of hard jail time. If the police suspect you of having either possession of or carrying a given amount of illegal substances, they legally can stop, search, and even arrest you for it. This might happen as a result of a police sting operation, in a routine traffic stop and vehicle search, or even thanks to surveillance of a group or individual connected to you in some way.

Such illegal drug possession can occur in a range of scenarios. When a police officer catches you with them on your person, in your home, or in your vehicle, then they have the authority and justification to make an arrest and report all relevant evidence. It is a more complex issue if they know that you have drugs but cannot find them on your person or in your car or home. As a rule, drug possession charges can stick if the alleged drugs turn up to support the possession charges. The caveat is that police and detectives do not just have to find these illegal drugs in a car or home, they can also be in a locker to which you have the keys, as an example.

However, the story may unfold, the end-result is nearly always the same. You can count on being held responsible for possession of drugs that you should not have if the police find them in the area around you (such as your car or home) even if they are not on your person literally and physically. It does not matter if you are aware of the drugs’ presence or not; you would still be charged just the same.

What is Constructive Possession About?

How can this be considered fair or just? The law refers to this ignorant possession of any illegal substance or item as constructive possession. This is a legal construct that causes many intense disagreements about who owned what and why it was there in the first place.

It is important to be aware of the fact that the majority of U.S. states see and treat constructive possession identically as they would handle actual possession. While you may not have the controlled substances in your backpack, purse, hand, or pocket; instead having it in your room, car, or apartment is still keeping it in an area that you control directly. This is true whether you are blissfully ignorant of the drugs’ existence or not.

Do You Have to be Present for a Constructive Possession Charge with Drugs to be Made?

The case becomes more unfair seeming when you are not even present at the so-called scene of the possession crime. You can be charged with constructive possession even if you are nowhere physically near the drugs when a representative of the law uncovers them in an area under your personal control. All that the police need to be able to do is to physically assume possession of the drugs found under areas of your control while you are not present. Then they have a case against you, despite your unwilling and unknowing participation in the crime. This is definitely a case where ignorance is far from bliss.

It helps to look at a differentiating set of examples to understand the differences between physical possession and this so-called constructive possession. For example, your car could be sitting idly and turned off on your driveway. No one may be in it, meaning that no one is in physical possession of the car at that given moment. Yet if you physically possess the car keys, then you effectively have constructive possession of the vehicle since you could assume physical possession of the contents within the car at any moment and whenever you choose.

Can You Fight an Unfair Possession Drug Related Charge?

With the law and legal precedent stacked hard against you in cases like these, how can you possibly fight them? In the majority of cases with most states, the prosecutor will be required to demonstrate that you either knew or ought to have known about the drugs found in your area of control for you to be held constructively in possession of them. Consider the following three cases for a moment:

  1. Drugs caught in a baggie in a cup holder or in the floor are in plain sight. The case would likely be closed in such a scenario. The argument is that if the drugs are clearly visible, then you should have realized that they were present.
  2. A far more difficult and legally complex instance would be when drugs are discovered within a center console or in a glove compartment box of your vehicle. It is true that on a daily basis you do not have a compelling reason to go through these storage areas and so uncover the illegal drugs. They are also not in plain site where you would be painfully aware of them either.
  3. A legally safer case study would be if your roommate had hidden their drugs within the vehicle door panels. This would be a stretch for the prosecution to prove that you were aware of (or ought to have been aware of) the hidden illicit substances.

Ultimately, Possession Comes Down to Credibility

According to the U.S. Justice and legal system, you remain innocent until you are proven guilty beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt. Yet in practice, the jury is the group that makes this all-important decision as to whether or not there is any reasonable doubt on the knowledge surrounding possession of illegal drugs within your home, car, or similar area over which you have control.

This does not at all mean that the crux of your legal defense against constructive possession should be that you simply had no prior knowledge about the illegal substance discovered in an area physically under your control. In such cases as these, it is critical to have a successful attorney representing your case to make the point that you had no knowledge of the crime going on under your auspices. Such a lawyer will also look into other plausible and potentially effective defenses so that your case becomes clear to the jury that you are plainly innocent of any wrongdoing of intentional possession.

In the End, Being Guilty of Merely Being A “Blind Mule” Is A Viable Defense

Blind mules in the end are people who do not know that they are being used to carry or transport illegal substances such as controlled prescriptions drugs or narcotics. You could be a blind mule unwittingly for a friend too. If the possession of drugs in your vehicle comes down to such a case, then you should remain silent when accused and arrested. This is the best time to invoke your Miranda Rights and vigorously insist on obtaining a well-qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Anything that you say, even in proclaiming your ignorance and innocence, can be used against you when your day in court finally arrives.

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About the Author

Attorney Matthew L. Nebeker provides strong and aggressive legal representation for DUI cases in Salt Lake

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