I Wrecked My Car and My Friend’s Drugs Were Inside, What Do I Do Now?
In some situations, you may expect a possession of drugs charge. For instance, if you had a bag of meth in your pocket, you can anticipate a charge of drug possession. However, what would happen if you were stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation, and the police officer noticed the same bag in your vehicle’s front seat? Does a charge of drug possession apply in this case?
The specific facts of the case will determine whether you will be charged with the possession of drugs under Kentucky law. Based on a concept called “constructive possession,” law enforcement can claim that the drugs were under your possession even if you did not physically have them on your person.
There are specific facets that a prosecutor will need to prove in order to show constructive possession. However, the knowledge that such a theory exists can allow you to make smarter decisions.
The constructive possession doctrine enables law enforcement to charge an individual with the possession of drugs even if they do not have actual physical control of an illicit substance. Under the law, it will be treated in the same manner as actual drug possession and will be subject to the same criminal charges.
Constructive Possession – An Overview
The idea of possession seems relatively simple: you have something physically; you are in possession of the item. It is called “actual” possession under the law. Another form of possession is known as “constructive possession,” which means that a person can be deemed to possess something even if they do not have physical control of the item.
In order to have constructive possession of a controlled substance (or another illicit item), a person must meet two criteria. First, they must be aware that the prohibited substance is near or on their property. Second, they must be able to maintain dominion or authority over the item.
The initial requirement does not warrant the prosecution to prove that you were actually aware of the presence of the illicit item on your property. Based on the situation, you should have deduced that the drugs were on your premises. It is not incumbent on the state to prove that you knew that the drugs in question were illicit and this is critical to know.
The second requirement necessitates the state to prove that you had the authority and intent to control the drugs’ location. If you were able to accomplish physical possession of the illicit items, you might be considered to have dominion or control over the drugs.
Notably, merely because someone else owns the illicit substance does not imply that you can’t also have constructive possession over the item. It is possible to have constructive possession over an illicit item together with one or two other individuals. For example, if law enforcement locates a bag of marijuana on your premises, a charge of constructive possession can be brought against both you and your roommate.
The Doctrine of Constructive Possession in Kentucky
Under Kentucky law, constructive possession is applicable in cases of drugs as well as guns. This legal theory is especially poignant, as the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that an individual who is convicted of possessing an illicit substance can face a longer sentence if they are also found to have constructive possession over a firearm.
The doctrine of constructive possession in Kentucky was enshrined in the iconic case, Houston v. the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Under this ruling, even if an individual does not personally possess drugs, merely being around a person with illicit items can spell trouble for them. An understanding of this doctrine is crucial as a conviction of drug possession can affect your life in various ways, such as your ability to find employment.
Defense Against Charges of Constructive Possession
In case a police officer locates drugs in your vehicle, house, or rental storage space, you will likely face possession charges, irrespective of whether you had no clue how the unlawful items got there. While charges of constructive possession are more challenging to prove compared to actual possession, but if a connection can be established between you and the drugs, it could still convince a jury.
However, it will be incumbent on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were aware of the location of the illicit items or drugs when law enforcement found them. Even if you were aware of where the drugs were, how could it be proven that you had dominion over them, even if they were present in your vehicle?
Consult with an Experienced Drug Defense Attorney
If you find yourself facing charges of drug possession based on “constructive possession,” it is a sensible idea to consult a skilled and committed lawyer with an in-depth understanding of Kentucky law. Attorney Ron Aslam can build a robust defense against the criminal charges, enabling you to accomplish the best possible results.
Contact us today at 502-581-1676 or message us online for a discreet and confidential consultation.