Despite the charge, it’s worth noting that in Minnesota, you do not actually need to be found with a drug on your person in order to be hit with drug possession charges. Most people are charged with drug possession because police find them in possession of the drug, but that’s not always the case, and it doesn’t really matter in the eyes of the court if the cops can reasonably assume they are your drugs. This type of possession is known as constructive possession, and we’re going to take a closer look at how it is interpreted in the eyes of the law here in Minnesota.
Constructive Drug Possession
There are two forms of drug possession according to Minnesota law. You have physical possession in which the drug is physically on the individual being arrested, oftentimes in a pocket or hidden elsewhere in their clothes or on their body. The second form is constructive possession, and it’s a possession in which the drug is not actually on the person’s body, but reasonable evidence exists to suggest that they belong to a specific person.
For example, if you are pulled over and police smell marijuana in your vehicle, and a search reveals a small amount of marijuana in your glove compartment, police could make a constructive assumption that those drugs belong to you. If police witness you throw away a substance or find drugs in your school locker, this too can be considered constructive drug possession.
Defenses To Constructive Drug Possession
Defenses to constructive drug possession charges in Minnesota revolve around your ability to discredit the two factors that prosecutors must prove in court. The two factors are:
- You had knowledge of the drug’s presence in the discovered location; and
- The individual had the ability to maintain control or dominion of the drugs.
The first point acknowledges that you are aware of the drug’s presence and the fact that possession is illegal. If someone placed drugs in your car or locker without your knowledge, you can try to dismantle the first factor, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s difficult to prove that you were unaware that drugs were in a nearby vicinity or personal property without your knowledge, but not impossible.
As for the second point, prosecutors need to prove you had control over the area where the drug was located. If other people have access to the area, it’s more difficult for the state to prove their theory that you were the one with dominion over the drugs. Finding marijuana in your dorm room may be an easy case to prove, but drugs found in a common study room may be tougher to pin on one individual. Regardless of the intimate details of the case, if you can prove that others had easy access to the location in which the drugs were found, it can make it tougher for prosecutors to prove their case.
If you’ve been charged because a friend stored some drugs in your car without your knowledge or you’ve been wrongly charged with constructive possession of drugs, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Appelman Law Firm today to let us help defend you against the charges.