What Constitutes “Possession” for a Drug Crime?

drug use

To be convicted of most drug crimes, the prosecuting attorney must prove that the defendant had possession of the drug or controlled substance. There are two types of possession: actual and constructive.

Actual possession is fairly straight forward. It is voluntary and intentional physical possession. A person has actual possession in situations where an individual is holding a controlled substance, or where a controlled substance is found in a pant or coat pocket or in a bag that a person is carrying.

Constructive possession is entirely different. It requires proof that a defendant had knowledge of the drug or controlled substance and that it was subject to the defendant’s dominion and control. Constructive possession cannot be proven by proximity alone. Mere physical presence on premises in which a controlled substance is found does not give rise to a presumption of possession of a controlled substance.

Questions and disputes involving constructive possession often arise when drugs are found in:

  • A car or vehicle
  • An apartment
  • A house
  • An office
  • An unidentified bag or purse

Our attorneys have had great success in getting drug crimes dropped, dismissed, or reduced after filing suppression motions and engaging in tough negotiations. If you are charged with a drug crime, call one of our seasoned criminal defense lawyers today.