Can I be Charged With Possession of Marijuana If I’m a Passenger in a Car?

policecarlightsPicture this situation: You’re riding in the car with friends, going to lunch and you’re not the one driving. The driver gets pulled over and their car is searched. The police officer finds marijuana in the car and arrests all of you, even though the marijuana was not yours. You may be very confused and wondering if you could seriously be charged for being in possession of marijuana that wasn’t yours.

Well, you can. In order for you to be “in possession” of something, there must be a connection between the contraband and you. This link does not have be direct or concrete evidence. It can, in fact, be circumstantial. How you behave, who is driving, the location of the contraband in relation to you and who the car is registered to are all circumstantial evidence a police officer can use to determine if you are in “possession.”

Let’s say the plot thickens and the police officer is now telling you and your friends that all of you are going to jail unless someone admits the marijuana is theirs. This is a manipulation tactic the officer is using to make a case against you concrete. Even if the driver confesses to owning the marijuana, you can still be placed under arrest and charged with possession because in Texas, “possession” is either physical or constructive. Constructive possession means everyone in that car had some degree of control of the marijuana, even though it was not physically on your person.

What to Do If You are Arrested for Possession of Marijuana and It was Not Yours

If the worst happens and you are arrested, do not resist or say anything other than “I’m going to remain silent and I would like to see a lawyer.” These are the magic words and the only words you should say from that point on. A criminal defense lawyer can help build a defense against you by examining the evidence and determining if the search was legal, among other strategies.

The Goolsby Law Firm is a Dallas criminal defense law firm that fights to protect your rights in court. We haven’t lost a single trial in more than 15 years and we don’t intend to start now.