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Can you face drug charges for something a friend left in your car?

During a search of your vehicle, police officers will try to use anything they find against you. Although you may think that you keep your vehicle clean and there is nothing inside it to implicate you, you never know what a police officer might find. 

They could find a marijuana seed under the floor rug in the backseat or a straw that seems to have residual amounts of cocaine on it. Even if you honestly say you have no idea where an item came from, the police may arrest you. 

When you have a drug in your possession and they find it in your clothing or in your purse, you would have a hard time denying that you knew the drug was there. However, when police officers find drugs or drug paraphernalia in your vehicle, they will have to prove that you have “constructive possession” of the drugs to prosecute you successfully.

What is constructive possession?

When you have something in your pocket, the average person will assume that you knew it was there and had full control over that item. If there is something under the seat in your car, you may not know about it and may therefore have no actual control over the item. 

To successfully charge you with a drug offense over something in your vehicle but not in your direct possession, the state needs to establish that you knew the items were there and that you had the control to do what you wanted with them.

Factors such as whether there is forensic evidence directly connecting you to what the police find will determine whether or not the state can successfully establish constructive possession in your case. 

Learning more about possible criminal defense options can help those dealing with the police or facing drug charges.

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