Can I, as a passenger, be held responsible for drugs found in the trunk of a car I was riding in?

UPDATED: May 25, 2012

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Can I, as a passenger, be held responsible for drugs found in the trunk of a car I was riding in?

I was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for not having headlights on. The officer found a pound of marijuana in the trunk. The driver of the vehicle made a statement to the police that the drugs were mine. I made no statement. I have a public defender who wants to put 0 effort in and says I should take a plea deal, if I insist on taking this to trial what are my odds?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

With drug possession cases, the issue is not necessarily whether you actually possessed the marijuana, but whether you had an intent to possess it. The prosecutors will move on a theory of constructive possession which places you in possession of the marijuana although it was not physically on your person, but in the trunk within our general knowledge and vicinity. If you plan to go trial, you must convince the judge or jury that that you had no knowledge of the marijuana and had no intent to possess it. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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