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

Law Office of Jay G. Wall June 15, 2022

Handcuffs, syringe, bag of drugIf you were arrested for possessing drugs that were not yours, you might feel frustrated because of the injustice. However, if you are facing criminal charges for drugs that did not belong to you, telling the police that “the drugs were not mine!” may not be enough to avoid a conviction.

Law enforcement officers, in fact, hear that phrase all the time, even when the arrested person is clearly guilty. Simply knowing that you are innocent is not enough to avoid a conviction. Each year, thousands of people are wrongfully convicted of drug possession even when they are truly innocent.

If you are facing drug possession charges, but the drugs were not yours, you do not want to take a chance with your freedom and future. Seek the assistance of the skilled and results-driven criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jay G. Wall to build a strong defense. Attorney Jay G. Wall serves clients facing drug possession and other drug-related charges in Woodstock, Georgia, and throughout the state.

Constructive Possession of Drugs

In Georgia and other states, you can be arrested for drug possession if you have actual or constructive possession of an illegal drug or controlled substance. These are two different theories in drug possession cases:

  1. Actual possession means having drugs on your person (e.g., in your backpack, pocket, or hand);

  2. Constructive possession means possessing a drug that is not in your direct physical control.

Constructive possession is much harder to prove in drug-related criminal cases. However, just because you do not have drugs on your person does not necessarily mean that you cannot be arrested for drugs that aren’t yours.

When a Defendant Knew or Should Have Known About the Drugs

In the context of drug possession charges, constructive possession requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant knew or should have known about the illegal drug. Other elements of the constructive possession theory include:

  • The defendant knew or should have known that the drug was prohibited by federal or state law; and

  • The defendant had the ability to exercise control over the illegal drug.

Proving that the defendant knew or should have known about the drugs to secure a conviction based on the constructive possession theory can be difficult. This does not mean, however, that proving your innocence will be easy in your criminal case, even if the drugs weren’t yours.

Incriminating Circumstances

There are specific facts, also known as incriminating circumstances, that might link you to the illegal drug. Those incriminating facts include but are not limited to:

  • The drug was found in plain view at the time of the arrest

  • You owned or exercised control over the property where the illicit drug was found

  • The controlled substance was found among your personal items

  • You displayed suspicious behavior and attempted to obstruct the officer from finding the drug

  • The drug was found in the immediate proximity of your person or your vehicle

  • There was no one else in the vehicle or house when the drug was found

Even if any of these incriminating circumstances exist in your case, it does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty. You still have a chance to avoid a conviction and secure a favorable outcome in your case.

Mistakes to Avoid When Arrested for Drugs That Aren’t Yours

There are several mistakes that people make when facing drug possession charges for controlled substances that do not belong to them:

  1. Admitting their guilt when innocent. Being arrested for drug possession can be overwhelming and confusing, whether the drugs were actually yours or not. A person arrested for drugs that did not belong to them may feel hopeless and think that they have no choice but to take the blame.

  2. Talking to the police in an attempt to explain that they are innocent. Most people who get arrested for drugs that were not theirs may think that talking to the police is their best bet to avoid a conviction for something they did not do. However, it is not a good idea to make any statements to law enforcement after your arrest, especially if you have not spoken to a lawyer yet.

  3. Not contacting a criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately, many people believe that they can defend themselves against drug possession charges without having to hire a criminal defense attorney. “I know that the drugs were not mine, so I do not really need a lawyer to help me!” they think. However, not seeking legal counsel could make your situation worse. An attorney will review your particular case and advise you on your best defense strategy.

Getting arrested can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, which is why many people tend to make mistakes after their arrest. It is best to avoid mistakes and missteps as much as possible because your freedom and future are at stake.  

Legal Advocacy You Can Trust

It is not uncommon for innocent people to be arrested for drugs that do not belong to them. Some of these people end up being wrongfully convicted for drug possession. The criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jay G. Wall has a reputation for his fierce legal advocacy and unwavering commitment to his clients in Woodstock, Georgia. If you are facing criminal charges, reach out to attorney Jay G. Wall to discuss your situation.