If police officers encounter you while you have drugs in your possession, they will arrest you and charge you with a crime. However, it can sometimes be difficult to prove who the drugs belong to in specific situations.
For example, if the police find drugs in the common area of a home, they might have to determine which roommate(s) they belong to. The same could be true of drugs found on the floor in a vehicle with multiple occupants.
When no one admits to possession and there is no clear evidence, the state may still try to press charges. Constructive possession is a way that the state can hold you accountable for something found on your property or in your vehicle.
The basics of constructive possession
If you have something in your pocket, it would be very hard to deny knowledge of its presence. However, if there is something behind your seat in a vehicle, you may not even know it’s there. In a situation where drugs are located near someone or on their property but not on their person, the police and/or the prosecutor may try to establish constructive possession.
Through evidence and testimony, they will try to prove that you knew the drugs were there and that you ostensibly had control over them. If the case for constructive possession is very thin, then the state may not be able to charge you with a crime just because the police found something in your house or your vehicle. Even if they do, you may be able to use their assumptions to help plan your defense.
Understanding the legal considerations that can impact drug charges can help you more effectively participate in your defense.