Imagine you are giving your friend a ride somewhere in your car. You see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Maybe you didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign or one of your tail lights is out. You pull over, and when the police officer asks if he can search your car, you agree. You have nothing to hide. At least, that’s what you thought. When the officer looks in the glove compartment, he finds drugs. The next thing you know, you are in handcuffs and being taken back to the station. When you get your phone call, you should call a drug possession attorney.
Possession Means More than You Think
You might think “possession” has a straightforward meaning, but in the legal world, it does not. There are different kinds of possession. “Actual possession” means having physical control or custody of an object. You have actual possession of the cell phone in your pocket or the watch on your wrist. But what about the things you have that are not physically in contact with you? “Constructive possession” is the term used to describe things you have control over even when you are not in contact with them. You have constructive possession of your car when it is parked in the garage or of your bedroom when you are not at home. And if you have constructive possession of something, then the law will treat you like you have actual possession of it.
It would be hard to argue that someone else has constructive possession of your bedroom, but what about your living room? If you invite a bunch of friends over to watch the big game, then all those people have access to your living room and can be said to have control over the things in it. Similarly, passengers in your car have control over the items inside it. If there are drugs in a common area like your living room or car, then everyone in the living room or the car could be arrested for possession of those drugs because you all have constructive possession. Anyone present could have put the drugs in the common area.
“But They’re Not Mine!”
Fortunately, there is a defense to constructive possession of drugs in a common area. Before you can be convicted of possessing the drugs the police found in your glove compartment, the prosecution needs to show that you knew or should have known the drugs were in your car. Unless your friend confesses that the drugs are his and you didn’t know about it, you will need an experienced trial attorney to protect and defend your rights in court. Having a drug possession attorney on your side is crucial. A jury has to believe your claims that the drugs aren’t yours and you didn’t know they were there. While you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, having a drug possession attorney present your side of the story gives you the best chance to prove that the jury has no reason to doubt your credibility.
You Have Rights
Proving that you didn’t know about the drugs is not the only way to defend against drug possession charges. Were the drugs legitimately prescribed prescription drugs? Was the search illegal? Were your constitutional rights violated? Your drug possession attorney will help you assess the facts of your case and determine the best course of action. Drug crimes can have serious ramifications on the rest of your life. If you have been charged with drug possession, call us today at (919) 636-6203 to set up a consultation to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your case. Wilson, Reives & Silverman is here to provide you with trusted, effective and experienced legal counsel.