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Constructive Possession vs. Actual Possession of Drugs

Posted on : July 12, 2016, By:  Donald J Matson
California Drug Crimes Lawyer

Being arrested for the possession of drugs in California can be a frightening and disconcerting experience. However, in order to properly defend yourself against these charges, it’s important that you understand the difference between the types of possession and how they can play a important role in your case.

Actual Possession

If you are found in actual possession of drugs, this means a law enforcement officer has found drugs on your person, such as in your pocket or in your hand.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession is charged when drugs are found in a place that an individual had cause to know about, such as in a vehicle or at a home. However, this charge means that other people may also have had knowledge of the drugs.

Defenses Against Actual Possession

It is more difficult to defend against actual possession, because it cannot reasonably be argued that you had know knowledge of the presence of the drugs. However, if the police did not have probable cause to search you and performed an illegal search and seizure, it is possible to have the evidence considered inadmissible in court. If the actual drugs cannot be entered into court as evidence, it is more difficult for the prosecution to obtain a conviction.

Defenses Against Constructive Possession

It is easier to defend against actual possession, especially if there are other people who may have been responsible for placing the drugs where they were. For example, if drugs were found in a vehicle that you share with a friend or partner, you may be able to argue that they placed the drugs there instead of yourself. In order to be found guilty of constructive possession, the prosecution must be able to prove that you knew the drugs were there, understood that the drugs were illegal in nature, and exercised control over the drugs.

When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

The smartest thing you can do after an arrest for the possession of drugs in California is to remain silent, answer no questions, and contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, we have significant experience working with clients who are facing drug charges and have the skills and resources to aggressively defend you in a court of law. Contact us now for a consultation to discuss the facts of your case in detail. Call today at (626) 792-1900.

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