San Diego, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: Is the passenger responsible for contraband under the seat if no one owns up to it

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2 Lawyer Answers
David Philip Shapiro Esq
David Philip Shapiro Esq
Answered
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: As would be the driver. It would eventually get resolved in court.

David A. Brooks
David A. Brooks
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Placerville, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Possession is a the ability control an item, and that implies knowledge that the item is there. With drugs under the seat, there could be a number of factors that could point towards both knowledge and control. Who can reach them? Furtive movements noted by police? Did anyone give a statement? Any forensic evidence (fingerprints)? Anyone under the influence of the same drug?

Then, possession can be joint, not just sole possession. Joint possession means more than one person can have the ability to control an item.

Possession is not ownership, ownership is just one form of possession. Holding it for a friend is possession.

Possession can be constructive, not just actual possession. Actual possession means holding it, constructive means you could control it if you chose to.

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