Possession of a controlled substance (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, hydrocodone, oxycodone) is a criminal offense in the State of Florida. However, residents and visitors of Okaloosa or Walton County are often not aware that under the laws of this state, there are two types of possession: actual v. constructive.
Actual Possession most often occurs where the drugs are found on the individual. For example, actual possession occurs when a person has a marijuana cigarette in his pocket. When a person is in actual possession of a controlled substance or a drug, knowledge of the illegal nature of that drug can be inferred (or presumed).
This is not the case where a person is arrested under a constructive possession theory. Common examples of constructive possession occur when (1) law enforcement stop a vehicle in Destin with multiple occupants and drugs are located in a common area of the vehicle (the center console); or (2) when law enforcement enter a Fort Walton Beach hotel or residence occupied by multiple people and drugs are located inside the common area of the residence. In Florida, when a person is charged under the constructive possession theory the prosecutor has the burden to prove that the individual had knowledge of the illegal (or illicit) nature of the substance.
Further, to prove a constructive possession theory the prosecutor must convince the judge or jury that the person charged exercised dominion and control over the drug or controlled substance and a person’s mere proximity to the drug or controlled substance in legally insufficient to prove this element of the crime.
Regardless of whether you were passenger in a traffic stop in Destin, Florida, a college student on spring break in a hotel or residence in Destin or an occupant of a home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, if you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, you should consider speaking with a Destin criminal defense lawyer to better understand your rights and options.
Jeremy S. Keich is a Destin criminal defense attorney with offices in Destin(Okaloosa County) and DeFuniak Springs(Walton County). As a Destin criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients resolve these spring break offenses and alcohol related offenses.
If you have been charged with minor in possession, driving under the influence or any other criminal offense while in Destin, Fort Walton Beach or anywhere in Northwest Florida during spring break, feel free to contact this Destin Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit https://keichlaw.com for mor information.
WARNING: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice nor should it be construed as an attorney-client relationship.