Difference Between Actual Possession and Constructive Possession of Drugs

When it comes to drug possession cases in Boise, Idaho, two different types of convictions can result. If you are found in possession of a controlled substance, you may be charged with actual possession or constructive possession. Both are regarded as legally distinct yet both carry stiff penalties under Idaho laws. You will need the help of a good Boise drug possession defense lawyer if charged with either offense. Here is a look at what each means and what are the penalties for each in Boise, ID.

What is Actual Possession?

Actual possession is when a controlled substance, such as methamphetamine or marijuana, is found on your person or immediately beside you. For instance, if a drug is found in your hands or pockets, an actual possession charge is likely. Likewise, if a controlled substance is immediately next to you so that no one else has immediate access to it, you will be held responsible for it.

Actual possession is relatively easier to prove and the charge is typically brought in situations where a police pat-down yields the drugs. A possible defense to this charge is to determine whether the police had a right to do a pat-down and if the pat-down was done in a constitutionally proper manner.

What is Constructive Possession?

Constructive possession is when you are not in actual possession but know the presence of a controlled substance and that substance is found in an area over which you have control.

For instance, if drugs are found under the seat in your car, you will be charged with constructive possession. Similarly, if you are in a car that has several occupants and drugs are stashed in the glove compartment, you will be held in constructive possession along with others.

Constructive possession is relatively harder to prove. This is because the prosecution must be able to satisfy two key aspects – that you actually knew that the drugs were there, and you had control over the drugs. A defense lawyer can argue against the first aspect, claiming that you were not aware of the presence of the drugs in the first place. This argument can be particularly effective in situations where other persons were also present in the immediate vicinity of a controlled substance.

Another argument that can be made in a constructive possession case is that you knew that the illicit substances were there but didn’t know that they were illegal. To further clarify this argument, consider this example: you pick up a friend on your way to a baseball game. The friend has a package which he says is lunch and puts this package in the glove compartment. A police stop leads to a search, and a search reveals that the package had marijuana in it.

You can plead that you knew the package was there but didn’t know it contained marijuana. This can be a real defense in many drug possession cases.

Idaho Penalties for Possession

If the charge of actual or constructive possession is actually proved against you, you will face penalties depending on the type of controlled substance involved. Here is a look at the penalties for possession under Idaho laws:

  • Possession of small amounts of a Schedule I drug, when it is not LSD or narcotics, or possession of small amounts of Schedule III, IV, V, VI CDS substances is a misdemeanor offense. Penalties include a jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Possession of Schedule I narcotics or Schedule II CDS is a felony offense. Penalties include a jail time of up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Possession of LSD is a felony offense. Penalties include a jail time of up to three years and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Marijuana possession for three pounds or more is a felony offense and the penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to five years, or both.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor offense. The penalties include a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to one year.

Hiring a Reliable Drug Possession Defense Lawyer in Boise, ID

If you have been charged with drug possession in Boise, ID, it is important to get the help of a good defense lawyer at the earliest. Here at Hooper Law Offices, we can help you fight the charge and prevent it from tarnishing your reputation and your record. Our lawyers will work with you to devise an effective defense in order to have the charges reduced or omitted altogether. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free session.

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