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Assertive Representation In State & Federal Court

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

Enduring a traffic stop by the police can be an unnerving experience. Many people are so eager to end the encounter that they will do just about anything that police officers asked of them. This overly compliant behavior can actually cause problems for some people. 

If you don’t use or transport drugs, you might think nothing of letting the police search your vehicle. However, they could find anything from a single marijuana seed to a straw full of cocaine that they then allege is yours.

Can police charge you with a drug offense if they find drugs in your car but not in your possession?

It is possible for the state to charge someone for drugs in their vehicle

Generally, possession charges stem from a person having prohibited substances in their direct possession, such as in their pockets or purse. Charges are more complicated when the police find drugs in a person’s vehicle

Given that a vehicle may have many people in and out of it, it is not always clear who might have brought the drugs into your vehicle. In fact, just the presence of your fingerprints on the drug’s packaging could mean next to nothing, as you could have accidentally grabbed it while searching for your dropped phone under your car seat. 

Prosecutors will attempt to establish constructive possession, meaning that they can show that you knew the drugs were in your car and therefore had control over them. If you can undermine that claim as part of your defense strategy, you may be able to avoid a conviction. 

Reviewing the situation that led to your arrest with a defense attorney is often the first step toward finding a strategy that can help you beat pending charges.