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Do drugs have to be on your body for drug possession charges?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Drug possession laws in California can be complex. They vary depending on the type of substance, the amount a person has in possession and the circumstances of the situation.

However, one common question is whether drugs have to be physically on your body for you to face drug possession charges.

Possession definition

If authorities find drugs in your home, vehicle or any property under your control, you could still face possession charges.

In California, possession of illegal drugs can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means the drugs are on your person, such as in your pockets or backpack. Constructive possession means that while the drugs may not be on your body, you have control over them or the area where they are, such as your home or car.

Control and knowledge

For constructive possession charges, prosecutors must show that you had control over the drugs and were aware of their presence. This means that even if the drugs were not in your immediate possession, if you had control over the area where they were and knew about their existence, you could still face possession charges.

In such cases, possible defenses include a lack of control in shared spaces. In California, many people live with others. Other arguments include infrequent access to the space and third-party involvement.

Drug possession charges in California can have serious legal consequences, including fines, probation and potential jail time. Of course, the potential penalties depend on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history. It is important to understand your rights if you are facing drug possession charges.