Drug Possession cases are the most common criminal offense we handle at Garrett, Walker & Aycoth. Drug Charges, including Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine, and Molly are handled by our Lawyers every day in District and Superior Court. It seems Drugs are found about everywhere these days, in some cases Drugs are found in a house, inside a jacket or pant pocket, on the ground between a group of people, in the center console, etc. But when it comes to Drug Possession cases it’s important to acknowledge that there may be several defenses to those cases.
For starters, with Drug Possession cases there’s this concept of Possession.
The First Element of Possession is that the Drugs must be:
1. POSSESSED; and
2. KNOWINGLY POSSESSED
Drug Possession can be broken down into two parts:
ACTUAL POSSESSION and CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION
DEFENSES TO ACTUAL POSSESSION DRUG CASES: Contraband in Clothing cases are often difficult cases because you have to overcome the presumption that you know what’s in the clothes you’re wearing. This being said, we’ve been successful arguing cases involving a lack of knowledge about the jacket, pants, and even shoes. Typically the Defense will work if there wasn’t any identifying information in the pocket…no ID and no other reason for our Client to reach into the pocket.
With Drug Cases involving Actual Possession cases we explore a number of different areas:
- Actual Drug Possession Areas
- Police Officers Observations.
- How did our Client react when told about the drugs in the pocket?
- Were there any Witnesses with the Defendant?
- Why was our Client Stopped?
- What amount of Drugs was found?
State v. Matias was a 2001 NC Supreme Court case which explained Constructive Possession. Constructive Possession exists “while not having Actual Possession…has the intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over the Narcotics.” The opinion continued with, “where such materials are found on the premises under the control of an accused, this fact, in and of itself, gives rise to an inference of KNOWLEDGE and POSSESSION…however, UNLESS the person has EXCLUSIVE POSSESSION of the place where the Narcotics are found, the State must show OTHER INCRIMINATING CIRCUMSTANCES before Constructive Possession may be inferred.”
So with Constructive Possession we first look at two areas. Was our Client by themselves and had sole control over the area where the Drugs were found? Or, did multiple people have access to where the drugs were found, and does the State have any other CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE showing our Client’s KNOWLEDGE of the Drugs as well as Possession?
In a lot of situations, drugs are found in an area and our client has no idea that the Drugs are there. This happens in residences, cars and any other area people may come together. These cases come down to Knowledge of the Defendant…Did our Client KNOW or SHOULD THEY HAVE KNOWN that there were Drugs in the House, Car or in their Presence? A lot of times these cases involve family members, roommates, girlfriends/boyfriends. The sad part is, that if you have KNOWLEDGE, and you ALLOW a PERSON to HAVE DRUGS in your area this may subject you to POSSESSION CHARGES.With Misdemeanor Drug Charges especially, and a small percentage of the time in Felony Cases, Law Enforcement does not run fingerprints in a Constructive Possession case. We’ve had success arguing in Constructive Possession cases that they should have obtained fingerprints, because doing so would have eliminated any question as to whose DRUGS they were…and if they didn’t run fingerprints at all, why not? Were they truly trying to figure out whose drugs they were, or were they just wanting to charge everyone involved? How can they prove beyond a reasonable doubt someone Constructively Possessed Drugs when they didn’t even run the most basic test to figure out who they belonged to?
Contact our Lawyers today if you or someone you know has been charged with Drug Possession in Greensboro, High Point or Asheboro. Call 336-379-0539 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
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