What if Police Find Drugs That are Not Mine?
A person can face severe consequences if he or she is found with drugs. When faced with a situation where police have found drugs that belong to someone else, it is important to remain calm, cooperate with the police, and request to speak to a lawyer immediately.
It is critical to refrain from negotiating with or speaking to the police without the presence of an attorney as anything that is said to the police may be presented unfavorably in a court of law. A criminal defense attorney should be consulted immediately to gather and evaluate facts to provide a strong defense.
What is the Law in New Jersey?
According to New Jersey law, possession is an act. If the possessor knowingly procured or received the thing possessed or was aware of and could control to terminate the item, it is considered possession. Per this law, a mere finding of drugs is not enough to support a finding of possession of drugs.
One is not automatically guilty when found with drugs or guilt-free if the drugs belong to someone else. In order to convict, the prosecutor has a burden to prove that the drugs were in the custody and control of the one accused of possession, and that the accused knew the drugs were there and had sufficient time and control to be able to discard them. Often, whether the accused knew and had enough time to get rid of the drugs depends greatly on the circumstances of the situation.
Most of the time, those who are caught with drugs claim that the drugs do not belong to them. Whether the claim holds true depends on whether they knew that the drugs were present and whether they had time and control over the substances. For example, police may find drugs on a person, in a car, or in a home. A prosecutor may have a strong case for possession if the drugs were found in the clothing of the accused or in the front of the car in the cup holder, versus if the drugs were found in the back seat with a passenger.
What is the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession?
One can be found to have actual and constructive possession of an illegal substance. As the name suggests, actual possession occurs when the person has physical control of the substance. Constructive possession occurs when the accused has the capacity to gain control and act within a given amount of time, there is no requirement for physical possession of the substance.
What are Legal Defenses That Can be Used?
Often, when defending one charged with possession, attorneys examine all the facts regarding how the drugs were found. Therefore, when consulting an attorney, prepare for the meeting by identifying to whom the drugs belonged. Assess whether there are any witnesses to this or whether there is any proof that the drugs belong to someone else.
Also, consider whether it can be proven that the vehicle or area where the drugs were found are not within one’s control. It is important to think about all relevant facts about whether one had knowledge, control, and sufficient time to discard the drugs.
Probable Cause and Exclusion of Evidence
Also, the prosecution has to prove that police had probable cause to conduct a search of the area where the drugs were found and even have a warrant to search. Additionally, they need to prove that the substance found was an illegal substance. Finally, the evidence gathered should not have violated a person’s Miranda rights or have been tainted by an illegal search.
Drug charges can affect one’s life severely, impacting one’s liberty, employability, freedom, and reputation. If one is accused of possession, it is beneficial to contact a lawyer right away.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Protect Those Falsely Accused of Drug Possession
If you have been accused of drug possession, speak to a lawyer right away. Our experienced Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC protect those falsely accused. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 856 287-7800. Our offices are located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.