Can I Be Arrested for Drugs That Weren't Mine?

Were you recently arrested for possessing drugs that weren’t yours? If so, you may have found yourself in a sticky situation. Law enforcement officials hear it all the time – “Those drugs aren’t mine” or “I don’t know where they came from.” These are by far the most common excuses people use to assert their innocence after being caught with drugs, making it all the more difficult for people who are truly innocent to prove that they weren’t, in fact, breaking the law.

If you were caught with drugs that weren’t actually yours, it is imperative that you request to speak with a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer before you say anything to the police. Don’t try to talk your way out of the situation, even if you know you are innocent; you will only end up giving the police more evidence against you. Instead, you should exercise your right to remain silent by stating that you will not submit to questioning unless your attorney is present.

The Legal Definition of “Possession” in Arizona

According to Arizona law, there are three types of “possession” as it relates to the possession of drugs: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession. In order to convict you of a drug crime, the prosecution must be able to prove that you had actual, constructive, or joint possession – it does not matter which.

  • Actual possession: If you are in actual possession of a drug, it means that you have immediate, physical control over the drug. For example: drugs are found in your pocket, purse, or elsewhere on your body.
  • Constructive possession: If you are in constructive possession of a drug, it means that the drugs are in an area over which you exercise control. For example: drugs are found in your home while you are not there.
  • Joint possession: If you are in joint possession, it means that you and another person share control over an area in which drugs are found. For example: drugs are found in a bedroom that you share with your spouse.

If drugs are found somewhere on your body during a search (actual possession), it would be hard to argue that the drugs did not belong to you. However, if drugs were found in a car that you share with someone else (joint possession), you may be able to argue that you were not aware of their existence, or that they did not belong to you.

Defending Against Joint Possession Drug Charges

Here’s a common scenario: You and a few friends are riding around in your car when you are suddenly pulled over by the police. When they walk up to your car, they smell marijuana. After conducting a search of your vehicle, they uncover several ounces of cannabis. No one claims ownership of the drugs, so they arrest everyone in the car.

This is a common occurrence. The police think it’s easier to arrest everyone involved and let the courts decide who is guilty. However, that doesn’t mean you will be convicted for a crime you did not commit. With the help of a Phoenix criminal attorney, you can argue that you were not in possession of the drugs, despite their presence in your car.

Arrested for a Drug Crime? Contact Suzuki Law Offices

If you were mistakenly arrested for possessing drugs that weren’t yours, it is important to act quickly. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Suzuki Law Offices before you say anything to the police! We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so please don't wait to give us a call. We will start your case with a free initial consultation.