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Constructive Possession of a Controlled Substance

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Illinois constructive possession, Crystal Lake Criminal Defense AttorneyThere is little confusion when a person is charged with a drug offense for possession or distribution when he or she is caught with the drugs in hand. However, confusion may arise as to how a person can be arrested and charged with possession when the drugs were found near the individual, in his or her house or car, or even when the person did not have any idea that the drugs were there. This charge can be sustained through what is legally known as constructive possession.

In order to get a conviction against a defendant for constructive possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant knew the drugs were in the location they were found, and that the defendant exercised immediate and exclusive control over the area where the contraband was found.

The knowledge element is usually proven by considering the defendant's actions as well as his or her words. Therefore, if the police see a person running from an area that is later found to contain drugs, this may be used as evidence that the person knew the drugs were there. However, running away alone is not conclusive evidence, and has to be considered in light of other factors.

In proving immediate and exclusive control of the drugs, the prosecution has to essentially prove that even though other people were present, the defendant is the only one who had access to and control of the drugs. For example, if the police search a house with multiple occupants, and a bag containing cocaine is discovered in the bedroom closet, the police have to show that the drugs could only have belonged to the defendant. The prosecution generally does this by showing that the defendant lived in the house, by presenting evidence that the defendant received bills or other mail at the house.

In addition, the prosecution has to show that the defendant had control of that particular bedroom closet, for example by showing that the defendant's clothes were hanging in the closet. Generally, if other people could have reasonably known about the drugs and could have accessed the area they were found, it becomes harder for the prosecution to prove constructive possession.

Just because a constructive possession drug case is mainly circumstantial does not mean that you cannot be convicted for possession of a controlled substance. As with other charges, it is important to keep silent after an arrest, and not make any statements that can later be used against you in court to prove your guilt.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

Drug charges carry stiff penalties. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney defending you. Contact our experienced Crystal Lake criminal defense attorneys at our law firm for a free consultation.




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