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Can you face drug charges if the drugs were not on your body?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

In Massachusetts, drug possession laws are strict and can lead to severe penalties. A person can face drug charges even if police did not find the drugs on their body.

The legal concept known as “constructive possession” allows for this possibility.

What is constructive possession?

Constructive possession means that people can face drug possession charges if they had the ability to control the drugs or had control over the area where authorities found the drugs. This is different from actual possession, where drugs are on a person’s body, such as in their pockets or hands.

Examples of constructive possession

Constructive possession can occur in various situations. For example, if drugs are in a car and the driver or passengers knew about the drugs and had access to them, they could be charged with possession. Similarly, suppose drugs are in a person’s home or apartment. Police think they can prove that the residents knew about the drugs and had control over them. These residents could also face charges.

Proving constructive possession

Possessing/concealing makes up about 64.2% of Massachusetts drug and DUI violations. For constructive possession convictions, the prosecution must prove certain elements. It needs to show that the individual had knowledge of the drugs and the ability to control them. This can be challenging, as it often relies on circumstantial evidence.

For instance, if drugs are found in a shared living space, the prosecution must prove that the person knew about the drugs and had control over them, not just that they were physically present in the same space.

The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Each case is unique, with its own set of facts and circumstances.

Still, constructive possession laws highlight the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings and the potential legal implications of having drugs in any controlled space.