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Constructive vs. Actual Drug Possession

Constructive vs. Actual Drug Possession

You may face drug charges for two different types of possession: constructive or actual.

Actual Possession

Actual possession occurs when drugs are found directly on your person. This could be if the drugs were located:

  • In your hand
  • In your pocket
  • In your backpack/purse

In these instances, police can assume that you have direct control of the substance.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession is more difficult to prove. You may face constructive possession charges if the drug is found not directly in your possession but in a place where it is inferred that you were aware of/in control of the drug.


This could be if the drugs are in your car or home but not directly in your possession at the time of the arrest. If the police believe you have ‘dominion and control’ over the drug, you will be charged with possession.

Based on constructive possession, you may also face possession charges if someone in the same place as you is arrested for possession. For example, if you are driving friends in your car and one has marijuana, you and the other passengers could potentially face charges. In this situation, law enforcement may believe you were all aware of the drug in the car, hence, constructive possession.

Penalties

The guidelines for criminal drug possession penalties vary greatly based on the type of drug found.

For a misdemeanor offense, you will face up to one year in jail and fines.

Felony offenses can result in anywhere from five to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

For a detailed list of possession penalties, click here.

What To Do If You’re Facing Drug Possession Charges

After being arrested, one of the first things you should do is contact a defense attorney. The sooner you get in contact with legal representation, the sooner they can begin building your defense. One of the most common things we see at Monroe & King, P.A. is that our clients were subject to illegal searches. When this occurs, we can fight to have the illegally obtained evidence against you thrown out.

Get started today with our Jacksonville drug crime lawyers. We have handled numerous complex drug cases; you can trust us with yours.