Constructive Possession

Many people wonder if they can be charged with “possession of a controlled substance” if they were merely a passenger in a vehicle where such items were found.  The short answer is yes you can be.  Even when you are a passenger in a vehicle and no illegal substances or items are found on you, you can still be charged with and convicted of possession under the theory of “constructive possession.”

In order for the prosecution to show that you were in “constructive possession” of the prohibited item they will attempt to show three (3) things: 1. That you were aware of the presence of, as well as the character of the prohibited item. Meaning that you knew drugs were present in the vehicle and that you knew that they were a controlled substance.  2. The prosecution must also prove that you exercised dominion or control over the substance.  A couple of ways the prosecution may go about proving this is by showing your fingerprints were on the prohibited substance or its container, or perhaps the vehicle in which they were found was in your name.  3. Lastly, the prosecution will attempt to show that you were in close proximity to the prohibited substance, close enough to exercise control over it.