To some people, drug possession is a simple criminal charge: the police catch someone carrying an illegal substance and they arrest and charge that person for their criminal offense. It seems pretty cut-and-dried, right? However, that supposedly simple drug possession charge has a few intricate legal details working in the background.
First, consider that the prosecution has to prove their case against you. You are assumed to be innocent, after all. They have to prove you are guilty of the crimes of which you are accused. When it comes to drug possession, there are two critical points that the prosecution must prove to validate their charges:
- That the accused knew the substance was a controlled substance
- That he or she knowingly possessed the controlled substance
Possession charges can also be filed under “constructive possession,” meaning that you had access to a controlled substance even if it wasn’t on your person. For example, if controlled substances were out on a coffee table in the living room of your home, then you could be charged with constructive possession, even though you aren’t literally holding or controlling the illegal substance.
In addition, there are supplementary charges that the police will likely try to add on to your case, such as conspiracy charges, paraphernalia charges or even federal charges. Sometimes these are tacked on to try to get the maximum possible amount of jail time for the accused person, or to try to make them agree to a plea deal. In any case, legal help will be necessarily for the accused person.