Can I be charged with possession if I didnt know I was in possession of anything illegal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged with possession if I didnt know I was in possession of anything illegal?

Hi I recently got arrested in Missouri for possession of meth
class d felony. The item they found during search was a bottle
given to me by the guy I was arrested with that day and he had
a large amount of multiple drugs including meth

My question is being that I was not aware that the bottle he
gave me had a residue of drugs in it can I still be charged with
possession? Had I known it had trace amounts of anything
illegal I wouldnt have accepted it or been carrying it around in
my purse for days before we were arrested

Asked on January 30, 2019 under Criminal Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there is evidence suggesting you did or likely knew about the drugs, you can be charged. If you knew that the other person used or sold or bought drugs, then, for example, that would be enough to suggest that you would or should have known that it contained drugs. To convict you, however, they need much stronger evidence--they have to be able to prove you knowledge (or again, that you should have known (i.e. that any reasonable person in your shoes would have known)--"beyond a reasonable doubt." So a sufficient reasonable suspicion that you knew the bottle did or likely had drugs, sufficient to arrest you, may be too little to convict; to convict, they have to prove that you knew or should have known.

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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