Constructive Possession and What It Means in Florida Drug Crimes Cases
The circumstances behind some drug offenses are relatively straightforward. If you have a joint in your hand or container of cocaine in your pocket, you can expect to be charged under Florida’s drug possession statute. However, you could also be arrested even when a controlled substance is not physically on your person or touching your body. The issue comes down to actual versus constructive possession, and application of the relevant laws is rather expansive. Regardless of which form, you could face the same jail time, fines, and other penalties.
The legal concept of constructive possession is very fact-specific, so there is no clear-cut test that makes the difference between an acquittal or conviction. Under the circumstances, it is crucial to get assistance from a Florida drug crimes defense lawyer. An overview of the law and some examples of constructive drug possession may also be helpful.
Why Constructive Possession Matters: In Florida criminal law, the key to possessing any unlawful object is whether you know of its presence and have the ability to control it. The prosecutor must be able to prove both, beyond a reasonable doubt, to obtain a conviction in a drug possession case. From this description, you can see that every case will be different. Whether the issue is before members of a jury or a judge in a bench trial, the facts may or may NOT lead to a reasonable finding that the accused was in possession of a controlled substance.
The penalties for a conviction depend upon the controlled substance and amount in your possession. Charges range from a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, to a felony – which could mean up to 30 years in prison in the most serious cases.
Examples of Constructive Possession in Drug Cases: Because the specific facts have such an impact on a case, some examples of constructive possession may be helpful.
- If you have a bag of marijuana in the glove compartment of a car you own, the facts might support a case for constructive possession. When the vehicle is a rental, the evidence is weaker.
- You are at a get-together at someone’s house, and there are drugs on the table in another room. The police bust the party and arrest you, but the charges may be dismissed because you lacked constructive possession.
- If you carry drugs in a purse or bag, you could face possession charges even if you are not carrying the accessory at the time. The assumption is that you have control over the bag and knowledge of its contents.
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
If you are facing drug charges based upon constructive possession, you owe it to yourself and your future to retain experienced legal counsel right away. The laws do not distinguish when it comes time for sentencing, so a solid defense is your best strategy. For more information, please contact Fort Lauderdale drug crime attorney Kevin J. Kulik to set up a consultation at our office. We can offer advice and discuss defense options after reviewing your situation.