Actual Possession v. Constructive Possession of Drugs & Controlled Substances

If you have been charged with a drug crime, you may have been charged under either actual possession or constructive possession. Both of these charges come with severe consequences and a conviction could mean a criminal record, jail time, fines, and a serious impact on your future.

Pursuant to People v Wolf, 440 Mich 508, 519-520; 489 NW2d 748 (1992), amended 411 Mich 1202 (1992), “A person need not have actual physical possession of a controlled substance to be guilty of possessing it. Possession may be either actual or constructive.”

What Is Actual Possession of Drugs?

The actual possession of drugs refers to having possession of drugs on your person either in your hands, in a bag or some form of container, or within close reach of your person. For example, actual possession could be having a baggie of some form of drug in your pocket or purse.

What Is Constructive Possession of Drugs?

When determining whether a defendant constructively possessed the controlled substance, “the essential question is whether the defendant had dominion or control over the controlled substance.People v Konrad, 449 Mich 263, 271; 536 NW2d 517 (1995).

Constructive possession is when you have possession of drugs but those drugs are not physically on your person. If you know where the drugs or controlled substances are located (say under the passenger seat in your vehicle or stored on your property) or if you have the ability to maintain dominion and control over the drugs or the area in which the drugs are found, you are in constructive possession of the drugs and could be criminally charged.

Drug Possession in Michigan

Michigan courts have considered the legal meaning of the term “possession” numerous times. “[Possession] necessarily contemplates some degree of physical dominion or right of control” over an item, with knowledge of its presence and character. People v Germaine, 234 Mich 623, 627; 208 NW 705 (1926).

Drug possession charges are serious and can have a serious impact on your future. A charge of actual or constructive possession of drugs could bring jail time, prison time, fines, driver’s license sanctions, and even the loss of professional licenses. If you have been charged with a drug crime, consulting an experienced drug defense lawyer to examine your specific case’s evidence and fight your charge is imperative. At Tanis Schultz PLLC, our team of attorneys is experienced in handling drug possession cases, whether it be actual or constructive possession, we are skilled in navigating the legal system to fight for you and ensure your rights are protected. We will work directly with you to develop a tailored approach to your specific case.

Contact us online or by dialing (616) 608-7149 to schedule a free consultation today!

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