I edited the practice area from SPEEDING TICKET to CRIMINAL DEFENSE so more avvo lawyers might respond. I don't practice in IL, so I'll defer to the avvo lawyers on this site to respond. This charge is a seriuos one with the growing concern over meth and meth labs in the country. Your defense is that you had no knowledge of the illegal act. But, your co-defendant has implicated you and stated you did have knowledge. This is a difficult defense between you and the owner of the vehicle. The prosecutor will argue you had knowledge and your defense is you did not.
The law allows proof by actual possession and constructive possession in most states:
"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 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.
Good luck. Listen to your attorney's advice. The choice to accept the plea is yours alone; to elect to go to trial, is yours alone, and to take the stand in your own defense is yours alone.
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..
Attorney Mascagni has given you sound advice and information about the way in which you might be viewed as criminally liable. It is absolutely essential that you retain the services of an experienced drug defense attorney in the area where this occurred. Do not delay that process for anything, including especially doing your own legal research. This site has an attorney search function that can aid you in finding suitable lawyers in the area with the appropriate expertise. Good luck.
Whatever you do, stop discussing your case online or with anyone in person. You need a lawyer. This is serious. You have defenses but you will not be able to present those defenses without legal assistance. Speak to several criminal defense attorneys and hire the one you like the best. Your future is at stake.
You didn't say what charges you were facing, but your suspended license is an issue as well as the drug possession issues. There is also the issue of why you got pulled over in the first place, which may be grounds for a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. There are several issues I see that can be addressed by an experienced criminal defense attorney.