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Drug Possession Basics, Part 2: What a Person Knows

 Posted on December 13, 2016 in Drugs and Narcotics

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn last week’s post on this blog, we talked a little bit about the two different types of drug possession. We discussed that actual possession refers to having illegal drugs on your person or in your immediate vicinity while constructive possession refers to the presence of illegal drugs in your home or car. The difference in the two types of possession is a key point in determining whether you could face criminal consequences if a guest or passenger brings illegal drugs into your home or car, but it is not the only consideration. Your knowledge of the situation is also a factor; you cannot stop what you do not know is happening.

Knowledge of the Drug’s Presence

The Illinois Controlled Substance Act provides that it is illegal for a person to knowingly possess a prohibited substance. “Knowingly,” however, is very important part of the law. In seeking a conviction, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that the drugs were present, whether they were found in your car, your home, or in a purse or backpack. Depending upon the situation, proving your knowledge can be very difficult.

Assume, for example, that you have been pulled over for a traffic violation, and you consent to a search of your vehicle. The front-seat passenger—without your knowledge—was in personal possession of illegal drugs, but when the police approached the car, the passenger shoved the drugs under the seat. You could potentially be arrested for constructive possession since it is your car, but to secure a conviction, prosecutors would need to prove that you knew what your friend was doing.

Knowledge of the Drug’s Nature

The second element of knowingly possessing an illicit substance involves knowledge of what is in your possession. While a drug’s nature may be pretty straightforward in certain situations—marijuana and cocaine are fairly recognizable, for example—it is also not always so easy. What if a friend handed you a couple pills in a club one night without telling you what they were? On the way home, you are stopped and frisked by a police officer who finds the pills which turn out to be MDMA, or ecstasy. Once again, you could be arrested for possession, but your knowledge of the situation would likely be an important factor in whether you are convicted.

Call Us for Help

If you have been arrested on charges of drug possession, you need help. Contact an experienced Chicago drug crimes defense attorney to discuss your options. Call 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation at Luisi Legal Group today.




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