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Can I Be Arrested for Drugs That Aren’t Mine?

David Lee Sellers, PA Sept. 30, 2022

Person holding bag with powder next to person in handcuffsIn the state of Florida, it is illegal to possess, manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance without a valid prescription or authorization. A person may be facing drug possession charges if the substances were found physically on them—for instance, in their pocket or hands. 

Similarly, a defendant could be arrested and charged with constructive possession even if they didn’t know anything about the controlled substances, but they were still found in their vicinity, control, or care. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed if you were arrested for drugs that weren’t yours.  

An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can educate you about your rights and options when arrested for drugs that aren’t yours and help strategize your best defense. Attorney David Lee Sellers has devoted his career to handling criminal cases and defending clients facing drug-related charges. As your legal counsel, he can work to understand every aspect of your unique situation and help build a strong defense strategy to fight your constructive possession charges and keep your record clean. The firm is proud to serve clients across Pensacola, Crestview, Milton, Fort Walton Beach, and the rest of Florida. 

What Is Constructive Possession? 

Constructive possession is a drug offense that occurs when controlled substances or illicit drugs are discovered by law enforcement within a person’s vicinity, in a place under their care or control, but not physically on them. Essentially, a vehicle owner or homeowner may have constructive possession of the items in the car’s glove compartment or home, respectively. 

For example, suppose a Florida police officer asked an Uber driver to pull over and requested a lawful search, to which the driver consented. During the search, the officer discovered ecstasy in the vehicle’s trunk. The driver was thereby arrested and charged with drug possession. However, the substance actually belonged to one of the passengers the driver dropped off earlier. 

According to Florida drug possession laws, a defendant may face criminal charges for having constructive possession of an illicit drug or controlled substance. A skilled lawyer can investigate every detail of your case and educate you about the elements required to prove constructive possession. 

Elements Required to Establish
Constructive Possession 

To prove constructive possession allegations in Florida, the prosecuting attorney must establish the following elements: 

  • The offender was able to exercise dominion and control over the place where the substances were discovered 

  • The defendant knew or should have known about the presence of the drugs 

  • The defendant knew or should have known about the illicit nature of the drugs 

The state prosecutor may be able to prove the drug crime charges beyond a reasonable doubt if they can establish that the aforementioned elements existed along with other incriminating facts. 

Incriminating Circumstances 

Here are some incriminating facts and circumstances that may probably link an alleged defendant with a controlled substance: 

  • The police found the drugs in plain view 

  • The controlled substances were found in a car or property owned by the defendant. 

  • The alleged suspect evaded or resisted arrest 

  • The police found the drugs within the defendant’s immediate proximity during the vehicle search 

  • The defendant was nervous or restless during the search 

  • The alleged suspect made false statements to deceive the law enforcement officer 

  • The offender exhibited suspicious behavior, actions, or conduct during the arrest 

  • The police discovered the illicit drugs in the defendant’s private room during the property search 

  • The drugs were found among the offender’s personal belongings 

The police or prosecutor may be able to build a case against you using any of these incriminating facts. However, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty of the charges against you. An experienced Florida drug charges defense attorney can help strategize an effective defense in pursuit of the best available outcome for your personal situation. 

Don’t Risk Your Freedom  

A drug conviction can jeopardize your freedom, personal reputation, quality of life, professional opportunities, as well as your future. However, when accused of constructive possession, merely telling the arresting officer that the substances aren’t yours may not be sufficient to get you off the hook. Therefore, hiring a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney is paramount to protect your legal rights and help build your defense. 

David Lee Sellers, PA, is dedicated to offering comprehensive representation and knowledgeable legal guidance to individuals facing constructive possession charges. Attorney David Lee Sellers can assess every aspect of your unique circumstances, identify and exploit contradictions in the prosecutor’s case, and dispute the allegations against you. Above all, he will represent you intelligently and compassionately in every phase of the legal process. 

Don’t face your constructive drug possession charges without experienced legal guidance and skilled representation. Contact David Lee Sellers, PA, today to schedule a simple case assessment with an experienced drug crimes defense lawyer. These accusations don’t need to ruin your life. Attorney David Lee Sellers represents clients across Florida, including Pensacola, Crestview, Milton, and Fort Walton Beach.