Drug possession is a serious criminal offense in Virginia. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250, it is against the law for a person to knowingly possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription or otherwise valid permission.
There are two different types of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession.
With an actual possession, prosecutors allege that the drugs were found “on the person” of the defendant — perhaps in their hand, their pocket, or wallet.
With constructive possession, prosecutors allege that the accused, although they were not in physical possession of the drug, still maintained direct control of it.
In other words, constructive possession is a form of non-physical possession. Here, our experienced Richmond drug charges defense attorney explains the elements of constructive possession and how a lawyer can help protect your rights.
Understanding the Elements of Constructive Possession
Constructive drug possession cases are generally more challenging for prosecutors. There are two additional elements that the Commonwealth must be able to prove in order to obtain a conviction in a constructive possession case. These are:
- Actual Knowledge: To start, prosecutors must prove that the defendant has actual knowledge of the presence of the controlled substance. Lack of knowledge of the drug is a valid legal defense. It is the prosecution’s burden to prove knowledge.
- Dominion and Control: Beyond that, a defendant must have had dominion and control over the substance. Without control, there is no constructive possession.
How Our Drug Possession Defense Lawyer Can Help
Constructive possession cases are complicated. Ali J. Amirshahi is an experienced Richmond, VA drug possession defense attorney. If you or your loved one was arrested for constructive possession, Mr. Amirshahi is standing by, ready to protect your legal rights.
To start, Mr. Amirshahi will conduct a comprehensive review of the drug possession charges that were filed against you. Remember, the burden of proof is always on the Commonwealth. Prosecutors must have sufficient evidence to prove that you had knowledge and control over the drugs — otherwise the possession charges should be dismissed.
Additionally, our Virginia drug possession lawyer will ensure that your legal rights were fully and fairly respected by police. As an example, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects Americans against unreasonable searches. If drugs were discovered during an illegal or improper search, the evidence may not be admissible in court.
Finally, in certain cases, the best defense strategy is to focus on reducing punishment and keeping clients out of jail. Virginia has drug treatment courts that may offer options for first-time drug offenders — especially in drug possession cases.
Speak to Our Richmond Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer Today
At Ali J. Amirshahi Attorney at Law, PLLC, our Virginia drug crimes defense attorney has deep experience handling constructive drug possession charges. If you or a family member was arrested for constructive possession in Central Virginia, Mr. Amirshahi is here to help. To set up a free, fully private initial consultation, please reach out to our law firm right away. With an office location in Richmond, we handle drug offenses throughout the region.