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Have you been caught with drugs?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Drug possession is a crime taken seriously in Indiana and a conviction for drug possession comes with major penalties. You could face jail time even if you are convicted of simple possession.

Therefore, it is important to act quickly if you are charged with a drug possession crime and put on a strong defense. Be aware of your rights and exercise them, particularly your right to remain silent.

There are all sorts of innocent situations people can find themselves in that could lead to a drug possession charge.

There may be various defenses that apply to your case. You might have been found with drugs on you that belonged to someone else. Perhaps you did not know the drugs were there or you did but believed they were legally prescribed.

Drug penalties and enhancing circumstances

Indiana law states that anyone found in possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription is guilty of a misdemeanor. Although the crime is not a felony, it is still punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.

However, enhancing circumstances may apply to your case. If so, your offense could jump up to a felony. This increases the potential penalties to a fine of up to $10,000 and three years in prison.

Some examples of enhancing circumstances include having a prior drug dealing criminal conviction on your record or committing the crime in certain places or in the presence of a child.

Actual and constructive possession

You may be surprised to learn that the drugs do not even have to be physically on your person for you to be charged with possession. There are two types of possession: actual and constructive.

Actual possession means the drugs were physically found on you, such as in your pockets or hands. Constructive possession means that you had control over the drugs even though you were not in physical possession of them.

A common example of constructive possession is drugs that are found inside a vehicle. If you are pulled over by police and they perform a search of your vehicle and find drugs, you could be found to be in constructive possession of them, particularly if no one else was in the vehicle with you and the drugs were in a place you could see them.

Intent is the key to a drug possession charge

With any drug possession charge, the prosecution must prove intent to secure a conviction. You cannot be convicted of drug possession if you did not know the drugs were there since there was no intent to possess them.

For example, if you are pulled over while driving a friend’s car and drugs are found in the glove compartment, you could argue that you did not know they were there. This defense could help you beat a drug charge.

Knowing the defenses available to you depends on the circumstances of your case. It is important to understand all possible defenses and learn which ones are most applicable to your situation.