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Can police charge you for drugs in your car that aren’t yours?

Even those who typically follow most laws will feel nervous when they see the flashing lights of a police officer behind them while driving. Getting pulled over can lead to all kinds of consequences, ranging from expensive traffic tickets to the possibility of an arrest if the officer claims you did more than just break the speed limit. 

Officers often do ask drivers for permission to search a vehicle if they suspect illegal activity. When you know you didn’t break any major laws, you might feel inclined to let them search. Unfortunately, they could find something in your vehicle, like traces of cocaine or a marijuana seed, that can give them grounds to charge you with drug possession.

Even if you had no idea the item was in your vehicle, the possibility remains for officers to charge you with a crime.

Proving possession is part of many drug trials

Some situations are easier for state prosecutors to prove possession in than others. For example, when officers find someone with prohibited substances or paraphernalia on their person, such as in their pockets or in a purse, it is relatively easy to show that the individual arrested had physical possession of the item and therefore control over it as well.

When officers find something loose in your vehicle, they will have to establish constructive possession in court. Essentially, they have to show that the evidence supports their claim that you were aware of that item in your vehicle and, therefore, had legal control and possession over it.

You can fight back against constructive possession claims

If you get charged with possession because of a substance or item you didn’t even know was in your vehicle, your lack of knowledge can play a role in your defense strategies. You can offer an alternative explanation for how that item wound up in your vehicle. 

Whether you recently gave a ride to a co-worker with a known substance abuse issue or purchased the vehicle used, it may be possible to show that you were not aware of the item’s presence in the vehicle and, therefore, had no ability to control it. 

Anyone facing drug charges in Georgia will likely benefit from analyzing their circumstances with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making decisions about how to address the charges.