If 1 passenger out of a total of 4 is accused and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphenalia, is the driver automatically responsible?

What happens if the passenger in question pleads guilty? The driver was caught with a bag and immedietly handcuffed; they were in the backseat. Since the bag was in his possesion, what happens if the paraphenalia was the property of another passenger but that passenger was not questioned.

Asked on July 22, 2012 under Criminal Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In your scenario, if only one (1) out of four (4) people who are in a vehicle are charged with possession of illegal substances, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements of the particular crime per statute against the one (1) person charged. Whether the other three (3) people in the vehicle are not charged with a crime is not relevant to the prosecution's case against the person charged.

The prosecution has to prove that the person charged with the crime had possession of the illegal items.

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