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A drug arrest is a frightening experience. However, it’s important to understand your legal rights and the basic laws surrounding drug crimes. This knowledge will help you mount the best possible defense. How you are charged depends on where the drugs were found in relation to your person. Here’s what you need to know about actual drug possession versus constructive possession.

Actual Drug Possession

Actual drug possession is when law enforcement officials find drugs on your person or in your exclusive property. For example, if cocaine was found in your pocket or your gym locker that only you had access to, this is actual possession.

While drug charges with actual possession are more challenging to fight, a successful option is to challenge the validity and lawfulness of the search. If the search is unlawful, whatever evidence was found in the search — including drugs — cannot be entered into court. If police found drugs in your pocket, but had no probable cause to search you, the evidence would be dismissed. It would be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that you possessed drugs when the drugs are unable to be entered as evidence.

Constructive Drug Possession

Constructive possession is when drugs are found in a place that you had access to, but not exclusive access. If you are driving your spouse’s car and drugs are found in the glove compartment, the prosecution could argue that you also had access to it. Since it’s your spouse’s vehicle, it would be reasonable to expect that you had knowledge of the drugs’ presence. If you drove a friend’s car, however, it could be argued that you did not know about the drugs.

When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with actual or constructive possession of drugs in California, it’s critical to have an attorney on your side fighting for your rights. Contact Riverside Criminal Defense today for more information and a consultation to discuss your case in detail by calling 951-384-7375. We are available now to assist you.