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What Exactly is Drug “Possession?”

It’s Friday night, and you and your friends are in your car headed out to a party. Distracted by your friends and their back and forth banter about how many girls are going to be at the party, you accidentally forget to use your blinker to signal a lane change before moving into the right lane of the highway. Before you even realize it, a police cruiser lights you up like a Christmas tree and initiates a traffic stop. The officer runs your license, registration, and lets you off with a verbal warning on the failure to signal a lane change.

Just as you’re thinking that you’re good to go, the officer informs you that he smells an odor of marijuana coming from inside your vehicle and, whether or not you consent, he has probable cause to search your vehicle. The officer yanks you and your friends out of the vehicle and, while searching your vehicle, he finds a small baggie of marijuana stashed underneath the front passenger side seat that you had absolutely no idea was there. As a result, you and your friends are all placed under arrest for possession of marijuana. Later, you find out that the marijuana actually belonged to your buddy who was riding in the front passenger side. Evidently, he hid the marijuana under the seat while you were being pulled over for the lane change violation because he was afraid of getting caught with it. So, are you guilty of possessing marijuana?

Definition of Drug Possession in Collin County, Texas

Texas Penal Code, Section 1.07(a)(39) defines “possession” as actual care, custody, control, or management. Therefore, if you are charged with drug possession in Collin County, Texas, the State must be able to prove that you actually exercised some degree of care, custody, control, or management of the drugs for which you have been charged. Using the facts from the example above, you may begin to realize some of the pitfalls and struggles that the State may encounter when trying to persuade a judge or jury that you actually possessed drugs.

Drug Possession and Affirmative Links

In an effort to prove actual care, custody, control or management, the State often relies on circumstantial evidence of possession or “affirmative links” between you and the drugs to obtain a conviction. While there is no set number of affirmative links that the State is required to show in order to prove possession, many times the analysis will be based on several factors including whether or not:

  • the drugs were in plain view;
  • the drugs were conveniently accessible to you;
  • you were the owner of the place where the drugs were found;
  • you were the driver of the vehicle in which the drugs were found;
  • the drugs were found on the same side of the vehicle as you were sitting;
  • the place where the drugs were found was enclosed;
  • a strong odor of the drug was present;
  • paraphernalia to use the drug was in view or found on you;
  • your conduct indicated a consciousness of guilt;
  • you had a special connection to the drugs;
  • occupants of a vehicle gave conflicting statements about relevant matters;
  • your physical condition indicated that you had recently consumed some of the drugs;
  • traces of the drugs were found on you; and
  • affirmative statements connect you to the drugs.

Defending Drug Possession Charges in Collin County, Texas

If you are charged with drug possession in Collin County, Texas, I will thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances leading up to your detention and arrest in order to determine whether or not the State may be successful in proving that you actually exercised some degree of care, custody, control, or management of the drugs for which you have been charged. In addition, I will vigorously fight to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome in your case so that you may move on with your life. Contact me today at (972) 372-4054 for a free consultation and to discuss your case!