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Can I be charged with possession if drugs are found in my home?

Can I Be Charged With Possession If Drugs Are Found in My Home?

Having illegal drugs discovered in your home can lead to serious drug possession charges, even if the drugs do not belong to you. This article examines how constructive possession laws allow prosecutors to charge someone with possession without proof the drugs were theirs.

What is Constructive Possession?

Constructive possession is a legal concept meaning a person has control over or access to illegal items, so they are criminally responsible even if the items do not belong to them. For drug charges, constructive possession applies when:

  • Illegal drugs are found on premises a person owns or occupies
  • The person has control over the premises where drugs are found
  • The person has proximity and access to the drugs

Prosecutors argue this constitutes possession under the law even if there is no other evidence the drugs belong to the defendant.

Shared Premises Issues

Constructive possession poses risks for those sharing homes or vehicles. If drugs are found in a common area, legal occupants may all face charges since they have access and control. Issues arise when:

  • Drugs found in common spaces like living rooms, kitchens, shared bathrooms
  • Drugs found in vehicles with multiple drivers or passengers
  • Occupants claim limited access such as subletting a room

Prosecutors often charge all occupants unless strong evidence shows the drugs belonged to one person.

Being Charged for Others’ Drugs

You can face possession charges for drugs that completely belong to others if found in your home or vehicle. Some examples:

  • Roommate’s drugs found in refrigerator or cabinet
  • Houseguest hid drugs in home without your knowledge
  • Children or relatives stashed drugs in your house

To convict, prosecutors must establish control through access and proximity to the drugs.

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Possible Defenses

While constructive possession presents challenges, possible defenses include:

  • No knowledge the drugs were present
  • No control over the area where drugs found
  • Drugs were locked away and inaccessible
  • Drugs clearly belonged to other specific person
  • You sublet room and had exclusive access to your room only

Statements you make to police upon discovery of drugs can significantly impact these defenses.

Avoiding Issues with Shared Premises

To avoid liability for others’ drugs in a shared home, take steps like:

  • Restrict access of housemates and guests to your private room
  • Frequently inspect common areas for hidden drugs
  • Make clear rules prohibiting drugs on premises
  • Ask police to identify exact location and proximity of found drugs
  • Do not assume responsibility without legal advice

Hiring a Drug Crimes Lawyer

If charged with possession despite the drugs not being yours, immediately retain a criminal defense attorney experienced with constructive possession laws. They can evaluate defenses and fight to get charges dismissed or reduced.


While unfair, people can face drug possession charges for drugs that do not actually belong to them if found in their home or vehicle. Understanding constructive possession laws allows you to protect rights and seek the best legal outcome.


[1] https://www.greenspunlaw.com/faqs/can-i-be-charged-for-possession-if-drugs-are-not-on-me.cfm

[2] https://www.criminaldefensene.com/i-didnt-have-any-drugs-on-me-how-can-i-be-charged-with-possession/

[3] https://www.bainsheldon.com/can-you-be-charged-with-possession-if-police-find-drugs-in-your-car/

[4] https://millerleonardlaw.com/information/what-happens-if-the-police-find-drugs-that-arent-mine/

[5] https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/10/12/every-25-seconds/human-toll-criminalizing-drug-use-united-states

[6] https://www.misd.net/languageart/grammarinaction/501grammarandwriting3e.pdf


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