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Tampa Family Lawyer > Blog > Drug Crime > What to Know About Constructive Possession and A Tampa Drug Case

What to Know About Constructive Possession and A Tampa Drug Case


While some drug possession cases are more straightforward from a prosecutor’s perspective, others involve something known as constructive possession. Constructive possession charges occur when you don’t have any controlled substance physically on you or touching any part of your body. Active possession is when you are physically holding the controlled substance, or it’s in your pocket.

Regardless of whether you’re charged with active or constructive possession, you could be facing the same amount of jail time, possible fines, and other penalties. Both types of drug possession should be taken seriously, which is why you need an experienced Tampa drug crimes lawyer on your side.

Burden of Proof and Constructive Possession

Constructive possession charges can arise when the police find drugs in your car or other common areas. Essentially, they could be anywhere that you have access to. In constructive possession cases, the government has the burden to prove you are guilty. The prosecutor must prove the following:

  • The drugs were within your control;
  • You knew that the drugs were in the location; and
  • You knew that the drugs there were illegal.

The government is required to prove all three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. That means they must have concrete proof of each. For example, the officer arrests you for drugs in the car with multiple passengers. That does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had constructive possession of the drugs.

Don’t assume that just because you don’t physically have drugs on you that you won’t be charged with constructive possession either. If the police pull you over and the officer finds drugs in the console between you and your passenger, they might arrest you both for constructive possession. That’s one reason why you should be careful whose vehicle you get into. If you are the unsuspecting passenger, you still could be arrested. It doesn’t mean a conviction is certain; however, it’s still an arrest on your record.

Examples of Constructive Possession

Understanding what could be deemed constructive possession is essential. It’s best to keep yourself safe and not risk a potential arrest in the first place. Examples of possible constructive possession include:

  • If you carry a controlled substance in your backpack or purse, you could still be arrested for drug possession, even if you aren’t physically carrying the bag with you. One could assume since it’s your backpack or purse, you have control of its contents.
  • You keep drugs in the glove compartment of the vehicle that you own. However, if the drugs are in the glove compartment of a rental car, it makes the presumption that they are yours weaker.

A situation where you might escape arrest is a house party at someone else’s house where someone left drugs on the table in another room. The police break up the party and arrest everyone for constructive drug possession. The police could dismiss charges against you because you didn’t have constructive possession.

Contact a Tampa Drug Crimes Lawyer

If the police arrest you for a drug crime in Florida, let our knowledgeable Tampa drug cries attorney assist. Contact Faulkner Law Group, PLLC, today to schedule an initial consultation. A drug conviction can affect you for the rest of your lie. Let us help prepare the best defense possible and work to get your case dismissed or the charges reduced.

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