Can I be charged for drugs found outside of my car during an arrest after being searched and detained?

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Can I be charged for drugs found outside of my car during an arrest after being searched and detained?

I was pulled over and arrested for a warrant while with a friend. My friend had heroin and needles on him and told the officer they were his. After being searched and arrested the officer found more heroin outside of the car and is saying that I am responsible for it. It was not on my person or in my car. Will charges be dropped?

Asked on April 1, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Charges can issue if the prosecutor believes there was probable cause that you may have "constructively" possessed the drugs. Unlike physical possession where the drugs are found on your person, constructive possession is where the drugs are not found on you, but around your vicinity (i.e. under the car seat, trunk, etc). On constructive possession cases, the issue is whether or not you had an intent to possess the drugs, and if not, then this is a difficult case to prove. Just because the drugs were not found on you does not result in an automatic dismissal, but it may be difficult to prove you had knowledge of the drugs and an intent to possess them.

 


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