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What does constructive possession mean in a drug case?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Typically, when the police in Kentucky charge someone with a drug crime, they have to prove that someone had drugs in their possession at the time of their arrest. However, as court rules make clear, you don’t necessarily have to have a drug in your pocket for the police to arrest you on suspicion of possession or for a prosecutor to bring charges against you.

Kentucky treats constructive possession like actual possession. If you get arrested for something the police find in your house or your car, you will need to understand what constructive possession entails if you hope to defeat your pending charges.

How prosecutors establish constructive possession

When police officers find something in an individual’s vehicle, it is often the owner or driver who would suffer from their presumption of constructive possession. Unless someone else claims ownership over the drugs that police find in a vehicle, the state will typically presume that the person operating the vehicle knew the drugs were there and had control over them.

Those two presumptions are the basis for constructive possession. A similar rule may apply when police find drugs in your home, but there is certainly more gray area, especially when you live with other adults. The courts will require more than homeownership or a rental agreement at a location where the police found drugs to convict someone of a crime.

How you can fight constructive possession

Factors like a lack of fingerprint evidence on the packaging of the drugs or the placement of what the police found could provide a basis for your defense strategy. After all, you only need a reasonable doubt about whether you possessed those drugs or not.

If you can show that you had no idea that hidden compartment was in your trunk or that you never handled the items that led to your criminal charges, you may have an easier time convincing the courts that you are not guilty. Details ranging from the other people who have access to or control over a vehicle to your living arrangements can influence the defense strategy you employ when the state accuses you of illegally possessing drugs.

Learning more about Kentucky drug charges can help you develop a more effective criminal defense strategy.