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Physical versus constructive possession of drugs

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Facing illegal drug charges in New Hampshire is no walk in the park. Whether it’s the first time you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime or you have gone through a similar experience in the past, it’s understandable that you’d be anxious, worried and, possibly, even frightened while navigating the criminal justice system. After all, the outcome of your case could have a significant impact on your immediate and long-term future.

In order to mitigate your circumstances, it’s imperative that you clearly understand your rights and that you know where to seek support to help defend those rights in court. Understanding the legal terminology associated with the exact charges you’re facing helps you make informed decisions regarding what type of plea you might enter or whether you have grounds to ask the court to dismiss your case.

Illegal possession of drugs can be physical or constructive

The legal definition of the word “possession” is the exercising of authority, dominion or control over an object. If you’re holding a football, for instance, you have control over what happens to the ball. Therefore, it would be correct to say that you are in possession of a football at that moment. When an object is being contained on your person, either because you’re holding it or it’s in your pocket, etc., you have physical possession of the object.

On the other hand, you might still be able to exercise authority, dominion or control over an object that is not in your physical possession at the time. If you are facing charges for constructive possession of illegal drugs, it means you’re being accused of having control over the alleged drugs in question, although they might not have been in your physical possession at any time.

An example of constructive possession of an object might be holding a key to a locked box that contains the object in question. You’re not holding the object or the box, but you have the key to open it.

You are guaranteed an opportunity to refute drug charges

When police have arrested you and charged you with a crime, a series of events will unfold. There’s no way you could ever predict with 100% certainty what the final outcome of your case might be before it has been fully adjudicated or processed. However, you can be 100% certain that you’ll have an opportunity to present a defense to the court.

The more you know ahead of time about the exact charges you are facing, including what certain terminology means and what the potential penalties under conviction might be, etc., the clearer understanding you’ll have of how the system works, as well as what the best course of action might be to present a strong defense.

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