People often ride in cars with friends or family members who possess illicit drugs. The passenger likely doesn't know that their loved one is holding onto these drugs. Unfortunately, if the driver in possession of the drugs is pulled over and charged with possession, the passenger may experience the same fate.
Passengers May Be Charged With Possession In Some Drug Cases
Passengers being prosecuted for possession when they didn't have drugs on their person is actually not an uncommon situation. In fact, most passengers in vehicles carrying drugs are charged with possession even if there were no drugs on them and they had no idea there were any in the vehicle. How is this possible?
Possession Can Be Complicated
While it might not seem fair for the passenger to be charged with possession if the drugs were on the person or in the car of the driver, that isn't how the law works much of the time. For example, some states have what is known as a joint possession clause. This means that a passenger can be charged with possession simply because they were in the same care with somebody who did have drugs.
That's because, the prosecutors will argue, the passenger had easy access to the contraband and could have possessed it without difficulty. These clauses are often hard to defend against because the possession of the drugs is so often quite obvious. However, these are not unwinnable cases in every scenario.
Defense Is Complex
It might be hard for some people to believe, but it is actually possible to defend against these kinds of cases. They aren't always the easiest types of cases to win, but it is possible. For example, it is possible to argue that there was an unlawful search and seizure performed on the vehicle. This defense states that the law officers searched through a vehicle without permission and found drugs.
In this instance, the drugs cannot be used against either the driver or the passenger because the law officers did not follow proper procedure. Others may try to claim that the drugs were planted by the police officers. This kind of defense is not wise without actual video or eye-witness testimony showcasing the officers planting drugs.
As a result, it is wise to talk to a drug possession attorney about this kind of case right away. They can help you understand your rights and find a defense that works for you. And if your case is likely unwinnable, they may find a plea bargain that protects you, the passenger, from serious jail time. For more information, contact companies like The Mitchell Law Firm.