How to Beat a Constructive Possession Charge
“That’s not mine!” Possession of a controlled substance is the most common drug charge in Kentucky. When it comes to possession charges, many people don’t realize that you don’t have to have the substance in your pocket or otherwise on your person to get arrested. You can have what is known as “constructive possession.”
For constructive possession to exist, several things have to happen. While you don’t have to have the drug on your person, you must have:
- Knowledge of the substance’s presence on or around your property; AND
- The ability to maintain control or dominion over it.
Just being in proximity to a controlled substance is not enough to constitute constructive possession. These cases are more difficult to prove, which means that your criminal defense attorney has several ways that they can challenge a constructive possession charge.
A Defense Based on “Knowledge”
The knowledge component of constructive possession generally has two parts:
- That you knew the substance was on or around your property; and
- You knew or should have known about the illegal nature of the substance.
This opens up several possibilities for a defense. First, you may not have known that the substance was on your property. The prosecutors can use several arguments to try to link you to the substances, such as:
- The drugs were in plain view;
- The drugs were found with your personal items; or
- The drugs were found in your immediate proximity.
These are only arguments, and both parts of the knowledge equation must be fulfilled. In other words, there must also be proof that you knew or should have known about the illegal nature of the substance.
While ignorance of the law isn’t a defense, your attorney can argue that you had no idea that a substance someone else placed on your property was illegal.
Did You Have the Ability to Maintain Dominion and Control?
Prosecutors must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were able to maintain dominion and control over the drugs in question. What does this mean?
In short, this implies that you knowingly have the intent and power to control the whereabouts of the drugs. For example, if the drugs are found in a locker and you have the only key, this assumes dominion and control.
A strong defense against this comes into play when others are able to access the drugs. For example, when they are found in a residential common area, an unlocked vehicle, or a high-traffic commercial space.
What About Occupancy?
Defending a construction possession charge can be tough if you are the sole occupant of a residence or business. Assuming you have exclusive occupancy of a home, car, or business, this could be enough evidence of your knowledge of a substance’s presence as well as your ability to maintain dominion and control.
Even if you’re the sole occupant, who’s to say that someone coming onto the property didn’t leave the drugs there? This could include a visitor, landlord, contractor, or even a complete stranger.
But what if you share a vehicle, residence, or business space? This provides even more opportunities for a strong defense. Constructive possession becomes much more difficult to prove when there is more than one occupant.
For example, roommates might share an apartment, and drugs are found in the kitchen, which is a shared space. It can be difficult to prove that one roommate or another had possession of those drugs. Instead, authorities may need to present additional incriminating evidence.
Note: Constructive possession charges can also apply to weapons charges. The same principles and defenses we’ve just discussed can apply equally in these cases.
Hiring an Attorney to Fight a Constructive Possession Charge
When you’ve been charged with a serious crime in Kentucky, the stakes are high. Not only is your freedom on the line, but so is your job, reputation, and financial security. This is not something you want to handle on your own or leave to chance.
Ron Aslam Law Office provides aggressive, results-driven defense to clients charged with possession of drugs and other serious offenses in Louisville and throughout Central Kentucky. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that there are ways to fight certain charges.
We have helped clients charged with constructive possession achieve a positive resolution and we are available to discuss your case. Contact our office today at 502.581.1676 to schedule a consultation.