Constructive Possession of Drugs
The most basic type of possession is actual possession. Actual possession is discussed on another page in the drug crimes section, and it basically means that the drugs were found on the person. But many drug possession cases are not as simple as a police officer finding a bag of pot, or a couple of pills in a defendants pocket or in their hand. When a person is charged with drug possession but does not actual have physical possession of the drugs then that person is charged with constructive possession. Constructive possession is not unique to Maryland law, as nearly every state has statutes and considerable case law on constructive possession. Constructive possession in Maryland exists when an article, usually drugs or a weapon, is taken into a person’s control or held at that person’s disposal but it is not on his or her person. The duration of the possession and the amount possessed are not relevant to prove constructive possession, and it is not necessary for the prosecuting lawyer to prove actual ownership of the evidence at issue. This sounds like a large amount of legal jargon, and it is, but it is important to understand this legal jargon because it will appear in all constructive possession trials.
The constructive possession laws basically require that the arresting officer, and then the judge or jury take all the circumstances into account before determining whether there is possession. Many constructive possession drug cases involve more than one possible defendant. In joint possession narcotics cases the distance between the defendant and the alleged drugs is one of the most important factors in determining whether there is constructive possession. Other factors include whether the drugs were within the view of the defendant, whether the drugs were hidden, and whether the defendant had ownership or a possessory right to the place where the drugs were found. If drugs were found in a person’s home or apartment it may be inferred that he or she knew about their presence and had control over them.
In a trial for constructive possession of drugs the judge or jury will consider all these circumstances. A drug possession lawyer has numerous arguments to combat a constructive possession case such as lack of knowledge of the drug’s presence by the defendant and lack of control over the place where the drugs were found. The criminal defense lawyers at The Herbst Firm have successfully argued dozens of constructive possession motions and have prevailed in constructive drug possession trials. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession in Maryland, contact The Herbst Firm for a free consultation about the defenses that may be available in your case.