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Whose drugs are they?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2018 | Blog |

If you are charged with possession of drugs in Mississippi, your life is about to become very complicated and possibly very scary. What you need most is an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to guide you through the prosecution process and aggressively defend your rights. After all, your freedom is at stake. Depending on which drug the prosecutor alleges you possessed and how much of it you allegedly had, you could face up to 20 years in prison if you receive a conviction.

One common situation in drug cases is where law enforcement officials found the drugs in your home or car. Setting aside the crucial question of whether or not the officers legally found and seized the drugs by means of a valid search warrant, the question still remains: Were they really your drugs or someone else’s?

Constructive possession

Constructive possession is a legal concept that means although you did not have the drugs in your actual possession at the time officers seized them, the officers nevertheless believe you “owned” the drugs, and that is what they will attempt to prove.

For example, suppose the officers found the alleged drugs in the console of your car between the two front seats. Suppose you had three passengers in your car at the time, one in the passenger seat next to you and two in the back seat. Regardless of the fact that you own the car and were the driver, did you also “own” the drugs in the console or did one of your passengers “own” them?

Constructive possession says you did – IF you had control over them. Therein lies the problem for the prosecutor. How does (s)he prove that you, not one of your passengers, controlled the drugs? This is where your attorney, and by extension, you, get to shine.

Assuming the console was unlocked and you were the only person with its key, there is virtually no way the prosecutor can prove that the drugs belonged to you. All four of you in the car had equal, easy and ready access to the console. Therefore, any of you could have put the drugs there. Therefore, without some kind of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you did, in fact, control those drugs, the charges against you must be dropped and the case against you dismissed.