Louis C. Mussari | Attorney at Law
Chess Pieces

Even when out of your hands, you could be accused of possession

by | Sep 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In criminal cases, you sometimes hear “constructive possession” being talked about. This terminology is normally used in cases where someone has been charged for illegally possessing an item that wasn’t physically in their possession. This can be a tricky concept to understand but you need to know that an accusation of constructive possession could still lead to a conviction.

Constructive possession can be broken down into a couple of scenarios. Here are two examples.

Being able to possess an item

The first example of constructive possession is a case in which you’re accused of having the ability to access and possess an item. For example, you may hold the security codes to a safe in your home or a key to a container or vehicle that contains contraband. If you are the only person who has the keys or ability to access that item, then legally, you could be accused of constructive possession.

For juveniles, shoplifting can be used as a good example. If you stole items but quickly stashed them in a bathroom stall, knowingly stealing and hiding the items could lead to a constructive possession charge.

“Just holding onto it for someone else”

Another possible situation involving constructive possession could happen if you give an illegal item to someone else to hold for you. For example, if you have a backpack full of cocaine and pass it off to another person who is unaware that they’re holding it, you could still be accused of constructive possession. Why? You could get the item back and still technically control it. Hiding something doesn’t mean you aren’t in possession, necessarily.

This concept is one that is worth exploring, because it does come up in criminal cases. Whether you’re a juvenile or an adult, constructive possession is a possible accusation that you could face, and it’s essential that you understand what it could mean for your case.

As with any allegations, it’s valuable for you to think about your legal options. You need to know the ways you can defend yourself and take action to protect your best interests. Doing so sooner in your case may help you get the allegations against you dismissed or charges altered.