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Is constructive possession an issue in your criminal case?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Criminal defense |

When Virginia residents are facing drug charges, they may run into some odd-sounding legal terms and constitutional protections. For example, we all have the constitutional right to be protected from “unreasonable search and seizure,” as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. In drug cases, searches, seizures of property and possible evidence and the concept of possession are usually a part of the puzzle.

The term “possession” may seem simple enough – a person had something on them, or in their home, or in their vehicle, for example.

A related term that is somewhat harder to understand is “constructive possession.”

Constructive possession defined

Constructive possession goes beyond just what might be in a person’s immediate, on-person possession. Under this principle, a person might be found to be in possession of something even if it isn’t right where that person is at a certain point in time. It must generally be proven that the suspect in question had knowledge of the object and – crucially – the ability to control it.

For instance, one of the best examples is a safe deposit box. That box might be at a bank – away from the person’s home and nowhere near their immediate possession – but if that person has the key to the box and it is registered to that person, prosecutors can make a case for the person’s constructive possession of the box’s contents.

Defending against drug charges in Virginia is serious business. If you encounter complicated legal terms and constitutional concepts as you prepare your defense strategy, be sure to get the right information about your rights and options to push back against the prosecution.