If you’ve never been charged with a drug crime before, it can be difficult to understand how some people have been charged with a drug crime called constructive possession. Constructive drug possession essentially means that the person charged wasn’t in direct possession of illicit drugs but had reasonable access and knowledge of the drugs – and the authorities believe that those drugs belong to them.
Constructive possession can be a hard concept to understand since it’s often a legal theory. Here are a few examples of how constructive possession works in practice:
Sharing a vehicle with a friend
Perhaps you share a vehicle with someone you know. This friend may have a prescription medication that you know they keep in the glove box. During a traffic stop and vehicle search, an officer may find the prescription and suspect that you’re using or distributing these drugs illegally. While you know that these are your friend’s drugs, the police don’t. Since you were operating the vehicle and knew the drugs were in the glove box, you could face constructive possession charges.
Using a locker with a drug user
You could, for instance, go to the gym with one of your friends. You let your friend use your locker while you guys work out. However, your friend is known to use illicit steroids. Because you have access to the locker, you could face a constructive possession charge if the police search your locker and find your friend’s illicit drugs.
Living with a drug dealer
You may rent an apartment with someone who makes their income by manufacturing and distributing illicit drugs. You decide you can’t complain as long as rent and utilities are paid on time. However, if the police have a search warrant and find drugs where you can access them, such as the bathroom, living room or kitchen, then you could face a constructive possession charge.
You could benefit from having a legal defense if you’re facing criminal charges such as drug possession or constructive possession.