If police find drugs in a home that you don’t live in nor were you present when they found them, can they charge you with possession?

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If police find drugs in a home that you don’t live in nor were you present when they found them, can they charge you with possession?

Police raided my mother’s home which I do not live in for someone else. Upon their search they found an undisclosed amount of marijuana. They are saying in a closet which contained some of my belongings. However, I was not there nor do I live there. Can they charge me with

possession?

Asked on March 28, 2016 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can: charging you requires just "probable cause" to think that the drugs were yours, and finding them in a closet with your belongings would likely be sufficient. It may not be enough to convict you, since that requires proof "beyond a reasonable doubt," and the drugs could certainly be your mother's which she happened to put in that closet (thus creating reasonable doubt); of course, if you successfully defend yourself, the authorities may then look to charge and convict your mother, since the drugs must have belonged to someone and, it being her home, she is a likely suspect.


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