Can i be chared with drug possession if i find it and turn it in?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can i be chared with drug possession if i find it and turn it in?

My husband was arrested a while ago for meth and a syringe. He had a warrant for not going to court. I thought he was done with the drugs. I was wrong. He was arrested for his warrant and I searched him vehicle and I found more drugs. I called the police. They then charged him with it. I know I called them but I would do the same thing if I found them on the street. He thinks they will throw out the case because he did not give permission to search the vehicle and I gave it to them. Can they then come after me for this?

Asked on March 22, 2018 under Criminal Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If the police believe that they were your drugs, yes, you can can be charged even if you turned them in: turning them in does not make illegal possession legal. If they were in your husband's vehicle, most reasonably, the drugs were your or there his (you are the two with, presumably, the most access to the vehicle)--so if they don't think it's one of you, they may well think it is the other.
2) If you went into the vehicle voluntarily--a vehicle you presumably had access to--and then gave the drugs to the police or told the police about them without the police asking you to search for them, the drugs are admissible and the police did not need his permission. The Consitutional protections against warrantless searches protect against police action--not the action of private citizens. If a private citizen notifies the police of contraband, the police can then, based on that knowledge, search and secure the contraband based on one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement, such as the one that allows them to secure evidence in reasonable danger of being removed, destroyed, consummed, etc., or which could potentially be a hazard to others who may come across 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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