Being accused of using drugs may get you into serious difficulties, even if you think the issue is trivial. You could be charged with a drug charge if you are found in possession of a controlled drug. And in other cases, even if you don’t have any drugs physically on you, you might still face charges for this felony referred to as constructive possession.
It may be hard to understand how you could be charged for drug possession even if you weren’t directly in contact with illegal substances. What’s the difference between actual and constructive possession? Here’s what you should know:
Actual vs constructive possession
Actual possession occurs when someone has drugs or drug paraphernalia on their person. Someone could also face this charge if they were in the act of manufacturing or distributing illicit drugs, for example, or carrying drugs in their jacket pocket, the glove compartment of their car or their knapsack.
A constructive possession charge may happen if narcotics are discovered at a location that is under your control and you were aware of the substances — even if the drugs aren’t yours. For example, you could share an apartment with a college buddy who, unknown to you, is dealing drugs. When the police show up with a warrant and find his stash behind the frozen pizza in the communal freezer, you could also be charged. Even if you didn’t realize they were there, you had both access and control over that location (as far as the police are concerned).
Understanding your legal rights
You could carry a drug possession charge for the rest of your life. A criminal charge may affect your employment, living situation and future loans. It may be in your best interest to learn about how you can build a legal defense when fighting a drug possession charge.