What Is Constructive Possession in Drug Cases?

If you were arrested in Pennsylvania on drug charges, and the drugs were in your possession at the time of your arrest, this is known as actual possession. However, you may also be arrested for drug charges for “constructive possession,” which exists when the drugs are not in your possession but you know about the location of the drugs, you are able to exert control over the drugs, and you have the intent to control the drugs.

A common scenario exists where drugs are stored at an off-site location or drop-off point. A person storing drugs at a drop-off point knows the drugs are there and can fetch the drugs at will. The law considers this possession even though you are not holding the drugs personally.

Other common examples of constructive possession include:

  • Leaving drugs in another person’s possession with the intent to retrieve the drugs at a later time or direct the distribution of the drugs
  • Leaving drugs in your car or home
  • Shipping drugs

How Can the Prosecutors Prove Constructive Possession?

A common question thus arises: How can prosecutors prove constructive possession? It is difficult to demonstrate that a person has knowledge and control of drugs when they are not on their person. Furthermore, the prosecution must demonstrate that you had the intent to control and distribute the drugs. The prosecution will rely on evidence of the constructive possession, such as fingerprints or DNA evidence near the drugs, your ability to access the location where the drugs are stored, your communications with third parties related to the drugs and their distribution, and statements made by you related to distribution of the drugs.

What Are Defenses to Constructive Possession?

If you are wrongfully accused of possession of a controlled substance, a criminal defense attorney at Skinner Law Firm will strive to demonstrate the following:

  • You did not know about the drugs.
  • You did not have the ability to control the drugs. If the drugs were in somebody else’s control, and that person is not answerable to you, then it is clear that you did not have the ability to control the drugs, and we will strive to prove this to the court.
  • You did not have the intent to control the drugs. Intent is a particularly difficult thing to prove because it requires the prosecutor to attribute a certain state of mind to your person, and that is something only you truly know. We will strive to show the court that even if you knew where the drugs were and had control over them, you did not intend to control the drugs.

Call a Criminal Defense Attorney at Skinner Law Firm Today

Defenses against constructive possession are plentiful, and the right attorney can help you fight wrongful drug charges based on constructive possession. Call Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 or contact us online to discuss your case.

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