What you might think “drug possession” means and what Michigan law says it is could be quite different. The legal definition of possession is broader than the one most of us use in day-to-day life. Knowing the difference is essential if you are ever arrested on drug possession charges.
To prove that you committed possession beyond a reasonable doubt, Macomb County prosecutors must prove the following:
- You had actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance, and
- You knew the substance was illegal
“Constructive possession” is a legal concept that means a person had access to the drug, even if they did not have it in their hands or in their pocket when the police arrested them. For example, the prosecutor might claim constructive possession if the defendant had the keys in their pocket that opened a car with meth in the trunk, even if the defendant was not necessarily inside or next to the vehicle at the time of arrest.
What kind of penalties could I get if I plead guilty or get convicted?
The penalties you face for a conviction for drug possession depend on the substance involved. For example, possession of methamphetamine at an amount too low to prove intent to distribute can lead to a prison term of up to 10 years, while a cocaine possession conviction carries a maximum of four years for a first offense.
Getting arrested for possession can be scary, but you could have several viable defenses on your side to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. For example, if the police lacked a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you were committing a crime when they stopped you on the sidewalk or pulled over your car, your defense attorney could petition the judge to get evidence seized during that stop thrown out.