Constructive Drug Possession
Elsewhere, we discussed drug cases and the fact that Mr. Pham is an expert handling those cases. However, did you know that you can be arrested for drug possession when you did not actually possess or use any form of drugs? You can, and that is what is known as “constructive possession.” It would seem that, in order to deprive someone of his or her liberty, the prosecutor would need to prove that someone actually had the drugs in his possession. Sadly, this is not the case.
Constructive possession is a term of art in the legal community wherein someone is charged with possession whether or not he actually possessed the drugs. This situation usually arises when police make vehicle stops. The law is clear. If you are the driver of the vehicle and the police locate drugs anywhere in your vehicle within your reach, the drugs are deemed to be yours unless someone else declares ownership.
Imagine the following scenario: you are driving and are pulled over for speeding or, more likely, a broken tail light. The officer writes you a ticket, but then he asks to search your vehicle. If the officer finds your mother’s prescription drugs in the glove compartment, you will be charged with unlawful possession. And, depending on what type of drug your mother had prescribed, those penalties can be steep. The same situation applies if the officer finds a recreational drug, such as marijuana. Even if it has been there for weeks and you did not even know it was there, it is still deemed to be yours.
There are several lessons to be learned from the harsh reality of constructive possession. First, never consent to a search of your car. Mr. Pham sees far too many clients who face dire circumstances that could have easily been avoided by simply exercising the right to say no. Second, if you know your mother’s prescription drugs, etc., are in the vehicle, transport them to her in the trunk or in the back seat, out of your reach. Remember, in order to secure a conviction under a constructive possession theory, the prosecutor must prove that you had access to them. Being out of reach makes that proof much more difficult. Finally, know what is in your vehicle at all times.
Hiring an experienced criminal drug possession attorney like Mr. Pham can often make the difference between incarceration, probation and freedom. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for any drug related offense, and want an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, contact Houston theft attorney Michael H. Pham at (713) 236-7791.