As a criminal law lawyer in Ft Lauderdale, I have lots of close friends who ask me, “Can the police detain me if I am riding in a vehicle that contains cannabis?” Although you need to never ever ride in a car which contains cannabis, you can decrease your possibilities of being jailed by recognizing the importance of the legal idea “positive ownership.” The Fourth D.C.A. of Florida just recently created a superb analysis on constructive belongings in Brinkley v. State, 12 So.3 d 311 (Fla. 4th D.C.A., 2009).
To be founded guilty under Florida Law 893.13 (Ownership of an Abused Substance), the State should verify past a reasonable doubt that you had and knew the marijuana. To possess means to have personal fee of or exercise the right of ownership, monitoring, or control over things had. Possession might be actual or useful. Real property is a basic principle – in your hand, in a container in your hand, on your individual, or within all set reach and in your control. If a person has special possession of an illegal drug, expertise is presumed. Issues of positive property are extra complicated, however.
To develop positive belongings of marijuana, the State has to prove that you had (1) rule and control over the marijuana, (2) expertise that the marijuana was within your visibility, as well as (3) knowledge of the immoral nature of the marijuana. The most usual problem in contention is whether you had preeminence as well as control over the marijuana. If the vehicle in which the marijuana is discovered is in joint (no word play here meant), rather than your special belongings (i.e. you’re the passenger in a lorry), knowledge of the visibility of the controlled substance in the car and your ability to maintain control over the dangerous drug will not be presumed.
In layperson’s terms, if you were silly sufficient to be captured riding in a vehicle where a bag of marijuana was positioned in ordinary sight in the center console, the State would certainly still have to verify that you had “control” over the marijuana, and not just “understanding” of the cannabis. Although not specifically defined, control is the capacity to take, make use of, have, (or smoke) the cannabis without getting permission from another person. Plain closeness to the cannabis is not enough to develop control when the marijuana is not in your unique control. Property may be joint (two or more people might exercise control of the cannabis) however only if both people have control over the marijuana.
To show dominion and also control, the authorities will certainly have to observe you having, hiding, or inhaling the marijuana or if you make any type of incriminating statements confessing possession of the cannabis. Regardless of the previously mentioned factors, the cops can not impute the ownership of the cannabis to you simply because you remain in a car that contains marijuana. Consequently, never make any kind of incriminating declarations to the authorities with regards to possession of the marijuana. No matter what the authorities assure you (i.e. we won’t detain you if you admit possession), do not admit ownership of the cannabis. Also, attempt to stay tranquil – do not make any type of furtive or quick activities that would certainly lead the authorities that you fidget or attempting to hide the cannabis. Also, do not smoke the marijuana in the car. It is often hard to refute ownership when you as well as the vehicle reek of cannabis.
On an apart, in case you still choose to ride in a vehicle which consists of marijuana, see to it the cannabis is concealed (beyond plain view), preferably in the trunk or locked area. At a minimum, do not leave the marijuana in plain sight in the center console or ashtray. Additionally, do not keep any kind of paraphernalia (pipe, rolling papers, and so on) on your individual.
Ultimately, although the authorities should not jail you for ownership of an illegal drug if they can not show real or positive property, it does not indicate that the cops won’t jail you anyways. The authorities regularly apprehension vehicle tons of college students where cannabis lies within a car, even when they can not determine who exhibited preeminence and control. At that point, it is critical to get in touch with an experience criminal defense attorney to assess the certain facts of your situation as well as submit the ideal Movements. Property of also 1 gram of marijuana is punishable by approximately one year in jail and/or 12 months probation and also a feasible 2 year vehicle driver’s permit suspension. Do not plea out your situation without speaking with a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
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