Cocaine is one of those drugs where merely being found in possession of it is a Felony. Cocaine is a Schedule II Drug, these are drugs that are considered to have a strong potential for abuse or addiction but also have legitimate medical use. This being said because it’s a high level drug in terms of its schedule this is what makes possessing it a Felony. Our Greensboro Cocaine Lawyers understand the nuances of Possession of Cocaine cases, which often come down to this concept of Possession.
Cocaine Possession cases often fall into two categories: Actual Possession and Constructive Possession.
Actual Possession of Cocaine is where you the Cocaine in your pocket or on your person, whether it be in your shoes, or somewhere else in your pants. If the Cocaine is located on you then you Actually Possessed the Cocaine and can be charged with Felony Possession of Cocaine.
Constructive Possession of Cocaine is where a majority of Cocaine Possession cases fall. Constructive Possession of Cocaine is where you have both:
1. Knowledge of the Cocaine’s presence on or about your property or someone else’s; AND
2. You have the Ability to Maintain Dominion and Control over the Cocaine
We know what you’re thinking, what do those terms mean? These Possession of Cocaine cases can become complicated when it comes down to Constructive Possession of Cocaine.
Knowledge of the Presence of Cocaine also has two issues to address:
1. You must know that the Cocaine is on your property or around your property. This does not mean that if you say you didn’t know it was there, the state doesn’t have a case. Knowledge of the Presence of Cocaine can be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the case and other incriminating facts or circumstances and the ability to maintain dominion and control over the cocaine.
i. Police approach your car and see the Cocaine in Plain view – bag of cocaine on floor
ii. The cocaine is found in your wallet or purse when police conduct a search.
iii. If you own a vehicle and the cocaine is found in that vehicle, then you are deemed to have dominion and control because you possess the vehicle that possesses the cocaine. If the car isn’t owned by anyone in the car, typically the driver is deemed to be the most culpable unless someone takes responsibility or someone has actual possession of Drug Paraphernalia that fits with cocaine, ie a spoon for crack cocaine possession cases.
iv. If you Possess Drug Paraphernalia that is synonymous with the packaging or use of Cocaine, then this can be an incriminating factor toward cocaine possession
v. The Cocaine is located in your bedroom
vi. If you are behaving suspiciously during the search or arrest, law enforcement may deem this an Incriminating Fact or Circumstance toward you being in Constructive Possession of Cocaine
Merely having Knowledge of the Presence of Cocaine is not enough; the state must also show that you had the Ability to Maintain Dominion and Control over the Cocaine. It sounds a lot more epic than it actually is, the courts are only going to look at whether you had the ability to gain physical possession of the cocaine, even if it’s on another person the courts have held that can be enough to have the Ability to Maintain Dominion and Control over the Cocaine.