Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Understanding Constructive Possession In Florida Drug Cases

Understanding Constructive Possession In Florida Drug Cases


Florida, with its past history of drug use and abuse, takes drug offenses very seriously. Even relatively minor crimes like simple possession can lead to jail time if the facts of your situation are seen to merit it. What many are unaware of is that under Florida law, a person can conceivably be charged with drug possession even if they never lay hands on a controlled substance. This doctrine is referred to as constructive possession and it can land a person in jail if it is not properly understood.

Possession & Control

In order to be charged with drug possession in Florida, a person must have known that they had a certain substance, that the substance was illegal, and have had possession or control of the substance. If a person is found with drugs in their pockets, possession or control is established fairly effectively – but if someone does not have the controlled substance in their immediate possession, Florida law does allow for an alternative.

The doctrine of constructive possession allows a person to be convicted of drug possession even if they have never been seen to physically touch a controlled substance – the idea is that even if they did not have physical possession, a person had control over the substance, and control is one of the requirements for a possession charge.

Public vs Private Places

Constructive possession is established by showing that a defendant had both control over the substance – for example, if it was hidden in their home – and knowledge of its presence (and its unlawful status). It is important to keep in mind that mere proximity to drugs is not sufficient – the case of Davis v State (2000) states that at least in a public place, one cannot infer ownership simply by lack of distance.

If your case hinges around a private place, however, it is more likely that the state will be able to prove constructive possession, because no one else – at least in theory – has control over your home or vehicle. This leads to the assumption that no one else has control over anything found within those places – and can put you squarely on the proverbial hook.

Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Possession Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, do not make the mistake of underestimating the severity of the situation. If the state can establish constructive possession, you may wind up facing jail time. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure that your rights are protected. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn