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man arrested for drug possession

Can I Be Arrested for Drugs That Aren’t Mine? 

The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC Dec. 28, 2022

Being charged with drug possession is a serious matter. However, being charged with drug possession over drugs that were not yours is an unfair situation. So, I am here to support you by going over your options. At The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, I have the resources, practice, and skill to get you on the correct path toward seeking justice. I proudly serve clients in Fort Collins and throughout Larimer and Weld Counties, including Loveland, Wellington, Estes Park, Johnstown, Windsor, and Greeley, Colorado.   

Example of Constructive Possession  

Unfortunately, anyone can be arrested for drugs that are not theirs in Fort Collins, Colorado, and neighboring areas. You can be arrested for drugs that are not yours because of constructive possession, which means that you can still be arrested for an object even when it is not in your direct physical control.   

Consider the following situation:  

An Uber driver picks up a passenger. The ride goes on uneventfully. Then, the police stop the driver during a routine traffic check. The police ask to check the car. The Uber driver, who is a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, allows the police to search the car. The police find a small bag containing marijuana hidden underneath the passenger seat. Now, the Uber driver gets arrested and charged with drug possession.  

Does this scenario seem like something impossible?  

Sadly, this scenario, known as “constructive possession,” can happen to anyone. Anyone can find themselves in a jam dealing with drug charges based on substances that were not theirs.   

How does that work?  

It means that a person can control property (in this case, drugs) because it is within their general vicinity and not necessarily in their actual possession, such as in their pockets, backpacks, suitcase, and so on.  

Another similar situation occurs when individuals have all of the necessary elements to produce methamphetamines separately but have not used them to produce anything. In this situation, individuals are charged on the grounds of constructive possession since there is probable cause that they intend to manufacture drugs.  

In our discussion, the drug possession charges are unfair since the victim unwittingly had drugs placed in their vehicle. As a result, they must prove that the drugs were placed there by someone else without the individual’s knowledge. Proving this situation can be extremely complicated and requires a savvy defense. 

Proving Knowledge of Drug Possession 

The burden of proving knowledge of possession falls on the state. In other words, the state must reasonably prove that the charged individual knowingly possessed the drugs in question. Moreover, the state must prove that the charged individual purposely hid the drugs in order to avoid detection.  

By the same token, the charged individual must prove they did not intend to possess the drug items. Furthermore, the charged individual must show they unknowingly had the drugs planted in their vehicle or home.  

The core of this issue boils down to credibility. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the charged individual is likely to engage in this type of activity. Unless the charged individual has clear-cut evidence (i.e., security cam, dashcam, fingerprints) to prove the items were not theirs, it might become a question of the state’s word versus the individual’s word. In these circumstances, the charged individual’s credibility plays a huge role.  

Think about it this way:  

The jury is likelier to believe a person is innocent when they have no criminal history (at least pertaining to drug charges) than someone who has been previously convicted. Additionally, the jury is likelier to believe the individual when the state’s case rests solely on constructive possession and no other evidence.  

The state’s case may be difficult to prove in the following scenario. The police search your home looking for your ex-roommate. They search your home and find hidden drugs. The state has reasonable cause to charge you because they assume you knew about the drugs while your ex-roommate lived there. However, proving you knew about the drugs may be difficult.    

The state’s case can be easier to prove if your roommate still lives in the household and regularly consumes drugs. The jury may have a hard time believing that you did not know about the drugs, even if you did not consume them yourself. 

What Are Incriminating Circumstances? 

Sometimes, innocent people are the victims of these circumstances. Regular, law-abiding folks get caught up in unfortunate situations, such as the Uber driver mentioned earlier. Suppose a known felon rode an Uber to carry out a drug deal. The felon’s reaction when first spotting police presence is to stash the drugs in the car. These circumstances can lead police to think the Uber driver was in on the deal, as well.  

Indeed, anyone can be a victim of incriminating circumstances. They can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is why the right criminal defense attorney can work with prosecutors to help innocent, law-abiding citizens get the fair treatment they deserve. In some cases, it may lead to charges being reduced. In others, it could lead to charges being dismissed. 

Find the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Colorado 

At The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC, my pledge is to help my clients get the fair defense they deserve. I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I strive to deliver the best possible service.  

Contact me today to get help from a reliable criminal defense attorney. Don’t face drug possession alone. Get the help you need today. I proudly serve clients in Fort Collins and throughout Larimer and Weld Counties, including Loveland, Wellington, Estes Park, Johnstown, Windsor, and Greeley, Colorado.