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What is "constructive possession" in a drug crime?

Some drug charges seem relatively straightforward. For example, it is understandable that when in Florida, if found with illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, one could be charged with a drug crime. However, it is possible to be in possession of drugs even if they are not on one's physical person. This is through a legal concept known as "constructive possession."

To be charged with constructive possession of something, the accused needs to know of the object and must be able to control the object. For example, if a person has marijuana in the glove compartment of their car, it could be argued that they are in possession of those drugs. Thus, they could be charged with a drug crime.

Whether and when constructive possession applies to a given situation is generally dependent on state law. However, prosecutors may try to argue that a person has committed drug possession if they have drugs in a closet in their home, so long as they believe the accused knew the drugs were there and the accused had keys to the house. It would not matter in this circumstance that the accused did not have the drugs on their physical person.

In the end, what can be considered constructive possession will depend on the facts of the case at hand and on state law. This general overview of constructive possession cannot serve as the basis for a legal argument and does not replace the advice of an attorney. Legal professionals can provide those being accused of constructive possession of drugs develop a solid defense strategy.

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