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Passenger Marijuana charge

Council Bluffs, IA |

My girlfriend was given a ride home from work by a friend. He had a tail-light out on his trailer and they were pulled over. It was night. The officer said he could smell marijuana in the vehicle and searched the vehicle and found less than a gram of marijuana that was under her seat but it was the other guy's and he's admitting it was his. What is going to happen to her?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

It is impossible to say what will happen. In many cases similar to this, each person in the car would be assumed to be in joint control. Therefore, it is unlikely the DA will accept the admission of one person and let the rest go. Certain facts may change that.

This is not intended as individual legal advice and there is no attorney client relationship established by this answer. It is advisable that you seek individualized legal assistance. This is not a substitute for hiring an attorney.

Posted

She needs to hire a criminal defense attorney in your area to represent her. Her co-defendant can give a statement to her lawyer admitting his responsibility and ownership of the marijuana. Get counsel to assist you.

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..

Posted

The state could charge her with constructive possession. There is some good Iowa authority, however, that says mere proximity to a drug does not mean you possessed it. The state must still prove knowledge. The admission by the driver doesn't necessarily mean that she had no idea it was there. The state would still need to prove she could exercise control over it. She should still consult with an experienced
criminal defense attorney.

Frank Mascagni III

Frank Mascagni III

Posted

Here is some info online relating to Actual 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.