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Are passengers charged with possession if drugs are in the car?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2022 | Criminal Defense

When you hop in the car with your friends, you might not think that the contents of their trunk are any of your business. Suddenly, you may find yourself full of worry if a police officer pulls you over.

If the police find drugs in your friend’s trunk or elsewhere in the vehicle, the driver might not be the only one getting into trouble. You, as a passenger, can also receive a drug possession charge even if you claim that you have no prior knowledge of those substances.

Passengers may receive a constructive possession charge

If drugs are present in a shared space, such as a car trunk or floorboard, it can be difficult for an officer to verify the actual owner. In such a case, all individuals present in the vehicle may receive a constructive possession charge. When a search reveals drugs in an individual’s pocket or otherwise on their person, it is much more likely that they alone will receive a charge.

Penalties for drug possession can vary

A passenger receiving a constructive possession charge in Arizona may have a strong case against any accusations of selling or manufacturing drugs. Even so, you are subject to penalties under Arizona law that can vary based on the volume of drugs found in the vehicle. In the worst case, you may face a felony and serious jail time.

A drug possession charge carries potentially devastating consequences. To protect yourself and your rights, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney that can explain your defense options.