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I was detained in a store's loss prevention room for shoplifting. I offered my purse to the police to prove I did not steal

Orlando, FL |

After I left the room the loss prevention staff ran out and said they found cocaine in the LP office that was supposedly "sterile" when I went in for questioning. So now I am charged with cocaine possesion, and I have never done a drug in my life! I'm a mother of two and have never been arrested. How can that be considered possession if they searched my bag and found nothing on me? And how can they prove the substance wasnt there before when they questioned others in that interrogation room? I asked them to fingerprint the bag bc I have never even seen cocaine much less touch it, but they didn't. And I took a voluntary urine test to show I had no drugs in my system. There were at least 6 people coming in and out of there, how is it I was arrested for this?

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Attorney answers 8


All I can tell you is get a lawyer. You will need one. I agree. If the facts are as you say, they have no case.


You have a lot of issues here and your lack of a prior record can make a big difference. You need to meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Feel free to call me at 407-740-7275 if you would like to discuss your options. Good luck.


They are charging you with the constructive possession of the cocaine which will be impossible for them to prove without other corroborating evidence. I suggest you contact an attorney for a consultation.


You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney ASAP to defend you. There are several fact issues that you raise in your post. Get Counsel to review your case ASAP. Police can charge you with anything, proving it is quite another matter.

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..

Frank Mascagni III

Frank Mascagni III


Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession: ====================================================== Actual Possession "Actual possession is what most of us think of as possession—that is, having physical custody or control of an object" (United States v. Nenadich, 689 F.Supp. 285 [S.D. N.Y. 1988]). Actual possession, also sometimes called possession in fact, is used to describe immediate physical contact. For example, a person wearing a watch has actual possession of the watch. Likewise, if you have your wallet in your jacket pocket, you have actual possession of your wallet. This type of possession, however, is by necessity very limited. Frequently, a set of facts clearly indicate that an individual has possession of an object but that he or she has no physical contact with it. To properly deal with these situations, courts have broadened the scope of possession beyond actual possession. ===================================================== Constructive Possession Constructive possession is a legal theory used to extend possession to situations where a person has no hands-on custody of an object. Most courts say that constructive possession, also sometimes called "possession in law," exists where a person has knowledge of an object plus the ability to control the object, even if the person has no physical contact with it (United States v. Derose, 74 F.3d 1177 [11th Cir. 1996]). For example, people often keep important papers and other valuable items in a bank safety deposit box. Although they do not have actual physical custody of these items, they do have knowledge of the items and the ability to exercise control over them. Thus, under the doctrine of constructive possession, they are still considered in possession of the contents of their safety deposit box. Constructive possession is frequently used in cases involving criminal possession.


Was there a law enforcement officer in the room when you were questioned or just the store's loss prevention staff? This will make a substantial difference. Obviously loss prevention staff has no authority whatsoever to arrest you so it could very well be your word against theirs. I agree with my colleagues. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney. This case sounds odd and has problems. Good Luck

An attorney/client relationship is NOT established simply by virtue of The Law Offices of Evan M. Kleiman, P.A. answering any questions herein. Such a relationship will only be established by a formal agreement between the parties.


As my colleagues have advised, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney. If this arrest was within the past couple of days, a criminal defense attorney might be able to get in front of this matter before the State formally charges you.

In the event the State does charge you, if the situation is as you describe, a criminal defense attorney might be able to get the assigned prosecutor to drop the case against you.

Feel free to contact my office if you would like a free consultation. 407-849-2949.


Lots of different issues here. If they found it in the LP office and can not track it back to you via fingerprints, you very well have a defense! You need to get a competent, aggressive lawyer to raise your defenses.

Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. We would be more than happy to set up a free consultation if you call us at 407-588-6714 and specifically mention AVVO or email me at and put AVVO in the subject line.


Wow! Lots of complicated issues here. You will need an attorney to represent your interests. If you want my help, you can reach me at 407-831-3434.

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