Harrisburg/York PA Drug Possession Defense Attorney Answers: The “What Ifs” of “Possession”

Whether you have been charged with Possession With Intent to Deliver Drugs, Possession of Small Amount of Marijuana, or Drug Possession, there may be confusion over the prosecution’s ability to prove your “possession” of drugs. It is not uncommon for a person accused of a drug crime to contact our criminal defense lawyers and say, “I didn’t even have the drugs on me. How can the police charge me with ‘possession’?” That’s a fair question and below are some answers that may help to dispel the confusion.

What if: “I didn’t even have the drugs on me?”

Answer: Let’s assume you were pulled over in a traffic stop and a small baggie of marijuana was in your center console where the officer could clearly see it. Where the drugs are not found on a defendant’s person, the prosecution must prove “constructive possession.” In order to prove “constructive possession” of a drug, the prosecution must establish that you had the intent and power to control the drugs.

But what if: “The drugs were in the car and there were other people in the car with me?”

Answer: The theory of “constructive possession” would still apply. However, now, the prosecution would have to prove “joint constructive possession.” Under the theory of “joint constructive possession,” two people may have joint control and equal access to the drug and, thereby, both may constructively possess it. The prosecution can attempt to prove “joint constructive possession” based upon all the factual circumstances present in any particular case. For example, the prosecution may charge 2 occupants in a vehicle under the theory of “joint constructive possession” where the drugs were in the center console between the driver and the front seat passenger and neither party admitted possessing the drugs.

However, just because the police may charge you with “possession” of a drug does not automatically mean they can prove you are guilty. Because the prosecution must prove possession circumstantially by putting evidence together like pieces of a puzzle, we may be able to attack that evidence by various methods, such as, cross-examination and challenges to the lawfulness of the search or seizure.

When you have been charged with a Drug Possession Crime, it is imperative that you get us involved at the earliest possible stage in your case beginning with the Preliminary Hearing. This will provide Drug Defense Attorney Shawn M. Curry the opportunity to put you in the best position regardless of whether your goal is to litigate your case through suppression or trial or negotiate an agreement to minimize the consequences you may face.

If you or someone you know have been charged with Possession With Intent to Deliver Drugs, Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana, or Drug Possession, contact us today for a free, initial phone consultation.

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