You’re not exactly thrilled with your housemates, but tough economic times call for drastic measures. You paired up with a few other people you met at school, rented a house and hoped for the best.
Then, one of your housemates got busted for dealing drugs and the police showed up with a warrant. After a search turned up more drugs on the property, you — and everybody else in the house — ended up facing charges for possession.
What just happened? It’s a creative charge called “constructive possession”
There are basically two types of drug possession charges: Actual and constructive. When drugs are found directly on your person — tucked in your pocket, for example — that’s actual possession. When drugs are found in your vicinity and you theoretically had knowledge they were there and had access to them, that’s constructive possession.
It may sound like a cliché, but a lot of people actually have good reason to exclaim, “Those aren’t my drugs!” when the police find a stash hidden in their homes, cars, dorm rooms or offices.
When the drugs are in a common area — hidden in a cookie jar in the household’s kitchen or under the toilet tank in the bathroom — it’s very difficult to clearly say who owns them.
In those situations, the police generally take the attitude that it’s easier to charge everybody in the vicinity of a stash that nobody is claiming than it is to try to sort out the truth.
If you’re facing a drug possession charge, a conviction will leave you with a criminal record that could negatively change your entire future. Start early to craft a solid defense strategy.