Can You Be Convicted of a Drug Crime by Association?

In Minnesota, a person could be charged with drug possession—even if he/she doesn’t have physical possession of the substance. The state courts can still convict someone of this drug crime by “constructive possession.”

Physical possession is defined as having the actual drugs on your person (i.e. in your pocket or part of the body). By contrast, constructive possession means the drugs are not in your possession but in the same vicinity (i.e. in your car or residence).

The following are the requirements the prosecution must prove to convict a person of constructive possession:

  • The defendant had knowledge of the drug’s presence – The person knows that an illegal substance is on or near his/her property.
  • The defendant had the ability to maintain dominion of the drugs – The person has exclusive control over the area where the drugs are located, and other individuals do not share the same access to the area. For example, if you share an apartment when another person and drugs were found in your bedroom, you would have constructive possession of the drug because it was found in your personal living space, not your roommate’s.

However, if more than one individual has access to an area where drugs are found, the prosecution must prove that there is a strong possibility that a person had the ability to obtain physical possession of the substance at the time the police intervened. In other words, just because you are near an illegal substance doesn’t mean you have constructive possession—unless you had knowledge of the drug’s presence and could maintain control of the property.

If you have been charged with drug possession in Minneapolis, contact Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. today at (612) 979-1112 and schedule a free consultation.