Mississippi Drug Possession, Did You Really Possess It?
Mississippi drug possession charges are serious. Being convicted of possession drugs or paraphernalia can lead to years in jail. But what if you were just the passenger in a car where drugs are found? Can you be charged with possession of drugs? Yes, you can.
In Mississippi, if you are charged with possession of a controlled substance but the substance was not on you, the legal term used to charge you is “constructive possession.” The prosecution (government) will show constructive possession by proving three elements.
First, you were aware of the presence and character of the particular substance. Second, you exercised dominion and control over the object. And lastly, the proximity of the person to the object. Each element is discussed below.
- Were You Aware Of The Presence And Character Of The Particular Substance?
If you did not know the substance was in the automobile, or what it was, then the prosecution will likely fall short of proving you guilty of the Mississippi drug possession charges. The burden is on the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were aware that an illegal substance was in the vehicle.This is a very difficult element for the government to prove in many cases. It is not however, the only element of a case of constructive drug possession.
- Did You Exercise Dominion And Control Over The Substance?
One way the government may attempt to show you exercised dominion and control over a substance, is fingerprinting. The jury will see at some point you handled it, and therefore exercised dominion and control over the substance.Another method the government may use to show you exercised dominion and control would be by calling witnesses who saw you with the drugs or objects. The credibility of witnesses may be called into question during a Mississippi drug possession case and if your attorney can discredit them, then their testimony may have little, if any, impact on your case.Also, the court will consider whether or not you owned the automobile at the time you were charged with possession of drugs in Mississippi. If you were the owner of the automobile, it is presumed you were in possession of what is found in your car. The presumption created is a rebuttable one, which means you can overcome that presumption by showing the drugs were not yours. Often that is done by showing another individual possessed the illegal substance.Therefore, if the government can show you held or used the subject, then they will likely meet this element. However, they must prove this element beyond a reasonable doubt.
- How Close Were You To The Drugs Or The Object?
The government almost always relies on proximity in cases involving constructive possession. They will try their best to show since the drugs were near you, then you illegally possessed a controlled substance in Mississippi. The law, however, says proximity is not enough! Just because an illegal drug is found under your seat, that alone is not enough for a conviction for the charge of constructive possession.
Remember, the government must prove all of the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you were charged with constructive possession, you need to speak with an experienced criminal attorney. Call The Franks Law Firm, PLLC at (601) 283-2343 and we will put our experience to work for you.