Possession of a controlled substance is a criminal offense in Florida that can carry significant legal consequences, even if the substance technically does not belong to you. If you are facing possession charges that resulted from driving someone else’s car, it is crucial that you speak with one of our Clearwater drug crimes defense attorneys as soon as possible.
When it comes to the law, you may be surprised to learn that it does not matter who the owner of the drugs is, only who had possession of it. Florida law defines two distinct types of possession: actual and constructive possession.
Actual possession applies when an individual is found with drugs physically on their person. If, for example, someone is arrested and law enforcement discovers a bag of marijuana in their pocket at the time of arrest, that is actual possession.
Constructive possession refers to when a person has knowledge of the illegal drug and the ability to access it. This type of possession is presumptive, and more difficult to prove in court. For example, if you are pulled over while driving, and the officer searches the car and finds cocaine in the glove box, it is presumed that you, as the driver, have possession (or knowledge of and control over) the cocaine. However, our top-rated St. Petersburg drug defense lawyers may be able to challenge this presumption if the vehicle was occupied by more than one person. This is what the law refers to as “joint constructive possession.”
Does This Mean That I Can Be Charged With Possession If I Am Driving Someone Else’s Car?
To continue the above example, the officer who pulled you over may arrest you for possession of a controlled substance under the presumption that you had knowledge the drugs were in the car and control over them (i.e. the ability to access them). However, your Clearwater drug defense attorney with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan will be able to challenge this presumption and force the prosecutor to present evidence, such as fingerprints or eyewitness testimony, proving possession. If they are not able to do so, this could create grounds for charges to be reduced or even dropped.
What Should I Do If I Was Charged With Possession While Driving Someone Else’s Car?
If you have been wrongfully charged with possession while driving someone else’s car, don’t leave the outcome of your case to chance. The sooner that you contact the leading drug crimes defense attorneys in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, the sooner we can begin building a defense strategy based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
Complete our contact request form or give us a call at (727) 578-0303 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.