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Can I get in trouble for constructive possession?

In Georgia, drug possession charges extend beyond simply having illegal substances on your person. The concept of constructive possession allows law enforcement to hold individuals accountable even when drugs are not directly found in their possession.

Elements that establish constructive possession

For a constructive possession conviction to go through in Georgia, prosecutors must establish these two critical elements.

  • Knowledge: The state needs to establish that the defendant was aware of controlled substances. To prove this, evidence of prior drug use with the discovered substances or if the drugs should be in plain view within a shared space like a vehicle.
  • Control: Prosecutors must convince the court that the defendant could exercise control over the drugs. This element depends on factors that demonstrate the defendant’s knowledge and control over the drugs. Proximity to the drugs shows the ability to exercise control. If law enforcement finds drugs in a location owned by the defendant, such as their residence or vehicle, that establishes a connection to the drugs.

Suspicious behavior exhibited by the defendant during a police interaction, like attempts to conceal or access the drugs, may also support the element of constructive possession.

Dealing with a constructive possession charge

Facing this kind of charge can be overwhelming and traumatizing. Constructive possession is typically charged as a lesser offense than actual possession, but the potential penalties can still be significant, especially for larger quantities of drugs. Before anything else, do not engage with law enforcement regarding the alleged offense. You may want to seek help from legal professionals to fully understand the charges, and by being aware of the principles of the charge, you can protect your rights in such situations.