Is it possible for me to get charged with an incident I wasn’t there for?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it possible for me to get charged with an incident I wasn’t there for?

I picked up two friends in my car to take to the university for a visit. When we arrived, they wanted to stay in my car so I let them while I met up with friends. While I was gone, my friends told me cops approached my car cause they were asleep. Cops asked them if they had been drinking and they had and they were underage. They also had weed in there possession I was unaware of. They put it in my passenger side door but told the officers it was theirs. They also had an alcohol can in my car I didn’t know was alcohol. According to them, the officers didn’t ask about that. Officers wanted to talk to me but I was too far away to come back. When I did, the cops were gone so I just went. Now I’m scared I will get charged for something. I was unaware of all the illegal substances in my car.

Asked on October 24, 2016 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes you can get charged if you weren't there if there is sufficient evidence--like finding drugs in your car door; finding a (presumably) open alchohol can in your car--and/or testimony--such as if either or both of your friends later try to save themselves by claiming the drugs were yours, for example--to find that it is reasonable that you committed the crime(s). There may be enough here, based on what you write, to charge you, unless your friends do believably maintain that the drugs, etc. were theirs, taking the blame in a credible way. However, even if charged, that does not mean you'd ultimately be convicted--much more evidence ("beyond a reasonable doubt") is necessary for conviction.

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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