What To Do If You’re Accused of Possessing Illegal Substances You Don’t Own

Owning illegal substances is punishable by law. If you find yourself suddenly being accused of prohibited substance possession, even if you don't own the substance and have no knowledge about it in the first place, you can still be charged until you can prove your innocence. It would be a tough situation to be involved in, but sometimes, when we associate ourselves with the wrong people, incidents like this have high likelihoods of taking place.

Even if we don't wish for this to happen to us at any given time, it's still beneficial to know what you're legally allowed to do if the police found illegal substances in your property. Below is a sample scenario, penalties to be given, and tips on proving your innocence.

Getting Caught With Prohibited Substances

Picture this scenario: You're on a drive with your friend, and you're too engrossed in your conversation that you don't notice the red light. You're pulled over by the police, who asks to search your car. You oblige because you have nothing to hide, but your friend hisses at you to say no. You brush off your friend's protests because you just want the ordeal to be over, and you're certain that the cops will let you go after having found nothing suspicious in your car. But you are mistaken.

As the officer opens the middle console, he finds a small bag of meth, and you're utterly nonplussed because there is no way that addictive substance is yours. Unbeknownst to you, when your friend last borrowed your car, he slipped in the bag of meth in the middle console for later use. With no proof of this, you and your friend are hand-cuffed and taken to the police station.

Constructive Possession

If an item is found in your property, such as in your car, you have constructive possession of it under the law, and you'd be treated as if you're its actual owner. Constructive possession refers to a situation in which an individual is deemed responsible for an object found within his property, but not on his person, regardless if he has knowledge about it or not. This is the basis of your charges, so you can't simply claim that you don't know about the illegal substance, and expect to be let go.

Penalties For Possessing Prohibited Substances

Possession applies if the person caught with the illegal substance has no intent to sell or give away the substance. If you're accused of possession, you can face jail time with a duration that depends on the state you're caught in. The federal law considers simple possession as a misdemeanor, punishable by a prison time of one year or less for the first offense. Felony charges and a longer jail time will be given for subsequent offenses.

You may also be asked to pay steep fines, amounting at least $1,000. In some cases, you may be required to commit to community service for a substantial number of hours.

Proving Your Innocence

You will be innocent until proven guilty, so your defense has to be strong. If you could only stress that you genuinely did not know about the meth in the middle console of your car, the jury can still put doubt in that claim, hence you need a highly competent Long Island criminal lawyer or from the state you're apprehended in to help you prove your innocence.

Armed with a defense leaving no margin for doubt, you're going to be freed from your charges in no time. And following this ordeal, make sure to choose your friends carefully, moving forward. Trust only those who abide by the law and those who will never put you in harm's way.

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