If you do not use drugs, grow them or handle them, you might assume you will be safe from the threat of drug-related charges. While that sounds logical, it is not always how it works.
The police could arrest you on suspicion of a drug crime you had nothing to do with. Maybe you match the description of someone who traffics drugs. Or perhaps someone has intentionally given your name to the police in an attempt to settle an old score by landing you in jail.
Or they could arrest you because they believe you were knowingly looking after someone else’s drugs.
Actual possession is when the police catch you with drugs they believe are yours. A constructive possession charge can result when the police find someone else’s drugs stored in your vehicle or property.
Does this mean you can be charged if the local drug dealer comes along, puts a locked safe full of drugs in your apartment and tells you not to touch it, or he’ll kill you? No. Here is why:
You need to have control over the drugs
The two key elements to justify constructive possession charges are:
- Knowledge of the item: You know the drugs are there, and you know they are illegal.
- Control of it: If you do not have the key to the safe, you can argue you do not have control over the drugs inside. If, however, the dealer put the drugs in the trunk of your car, provided you hold the key, a prosecutor will argue that you did indeed have control.
Constructive possession charges can bring serious consequences, as can most drug-related charges. Getting help to argue that you did not have knowledge of the substance or did not have control over them will be crucial to avoiding a conviction.