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Charged with marijuana possession due to proximity in a car that doesn't belong to me??

Richmond, VA |

We were pulled over (for burnt headlight) at night and the driver(owner of the car) was scared(of cops) reason and let the cops search the car. The cop found small joint under my seat and asked the driver, he denied being it there, then asked two other passengers, they denied as well, then he asked me and charged me. What are my chances in getting out of this situation? I have a clean background check, plus I am fresh outta college and got this new job and if they find out I've been charged I am screwed.
P.S. there was no marijuana smell, neither marijuana was in a visible spot, and officer claimed that I-95 was a gun transportation corridor and had to check suspicious vehicles(3 black one spanish occupants).

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You have a good case. For the prosecutor to prove constructive possession they must prove you knew it was there, knew what it was, and that you had dominion or control over the item.

    There is also a potential search issue with this case.

    If you would like a free consult I can be reached on my cell at (540) 840-8470.

    Darren Meyer

  2. First, do not post any more details of the incident on a public site such as this. Any further communication about it should be in confidence with an attorney. I agree that you may have defenses based upon the legality of the search and sufficiency of the evidence to establish possession by you, however, those of us responding here are necessarily speculating because we don't have the benefit of all of the facts and circumstances that would come from a detailed conversation with you and the other occupants. Please do yourself a big favor and consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who has experience in drug defense. Good luck.

  3. From the outset, I would agree that you have a good defense. You weren't in your car. There were other occupants in the car. There was no odor of marijuana. The marijuana was not in plain view. How were you to know it was there? That will probably be your best defense at trial.

    However, you should get an experienced criminal defense attorney ASAP and discuss all the facts of your case with him. Quite often a case can hinge on one or two key facts that will result in either an acquittal or conviction.

    Attorney's answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.

  4. Hopefully you exercised your right to remain silent. Police have a tendency to twist your words, or the meaning of your words when you make statements. Constructive possession is difficult for the Commonwealth to prove if certain things do not occur. First, did you make any odd movements in the vicinity of the alleged narcotics. "Furtive movements" can be seen as an indicator of one's knowledge of and intent to possess something. Second, although you say there was no odor of marijuana in the vehicle, that does not mean that the officer didn't report that there was one. You cannot count on this factor at trial. If the owner of the vehicle or one of the passengers is a "friend", have him appear and tell the court (the truth)... that you never placed anything under the seat, nor did you have an opportunity to do so without him seeing. Finally, the fact that there were multiple passengers in your vehicle, and that you did not own it is very good for your case, but you should contact a good criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me through this website if you would like to discuss this matter further. As a former prosecutor I have intimate knowledge of how the Commonwealth goes about attempting to prove these types of cases.

    Attorney's answers to questions are for general knowledge purposes only, and do not establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should the asker assume that an attorney-client relationship exists.

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