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What is constructive possession?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Drug Crimes

People who are charged with drug possession can lose employment, loan opportunities, education advancements and housing. A drug possession charge in Georgia can lead to serious penalties. The possession of a Schedule III, IV or V substance can lead to up to 5 years in prison and 10 years for a repeated conviction. An offense could be punished with up to 15 years behind bars for possessing a Schedule I or II substance and a punishment of 30 years incarcerated for a subsequent conviction. 

People often do not realize, however, that they don’t have to be in actual possession of drugs to face charges. Constructive possession is a legal theory that suggests that a suspect is aware of the location of an illicit substance and has control over it even if they did not possess it on their person. 

3 examples demonstrating how constructive possession happens

How can someone be charged with a drug possession crime if they did not possess any illicit substances? Constructive possession can be a difficult theory to understand. It often depends on whether a suspect was aware of the existence of drugs and could access them at any time. Here are a few examples: 

  1. Driving with a prescription drug: A driver could have found their friend’s prescription drug left behind in their vehicle. If the driver was pulled over and the police found a prescription in someone else’s name, it could lead to constructive possession. 
  2. Sharing a gym locker: A person could be sharing a gym locker with a friend. The friend is known to use steroids. If the friend left steroids in the locker and they were found, anyone who had access to the locker could be accused of constructive possession. 
  3. Roommate’s drug addiction: A roommate may have a substance addiction. If they left any drugs in shared spaces, other tenants could be accused of constructive possession. 

One small mistake can have large consequences. If you are accused of possessing illicit substances, then it can help to learn about your legal defense options.