If drugs were found in a car that I was a passenger in, can I be charged?

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If drugs were found in a car that I was a passenger in, can I be charged?

I got a ride from someone. We went to the gas station. While outside of the vehicle, police come up and, after some

discussion, search the car. They found drugs. These are not my drugs nor is it my car. Now I am being charged with

possession and dealing.

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Of course you can be charged: there is no law saying that drugs in a vehicle could only belong to--and only result in charges against--the owner of the vehicle. The authorities  can charge *anyone* for whom there is reason to believe they may have owned the drugs; and if drugs are in a car, then anyone in the vehicle at the time is a potential owner/possessor of them. The evidence required to actually convict is much higher than the evidence needed to charge--it is proof "beyond a reasonable doubt." So they may not be able to prove these are you your drugs, and the charges may end up being dismissed. But your mere presence with the drugs, if no one admitted that they were their drugs, is enough to initially charge: the police will now investigage, look for fingerprints, drug test, interrogate, and otherwise seek to gather more evidence as to whose drugs those were.


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