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

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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

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 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. 


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