What is the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Drug Possession

Regardless of the specific type of drug possession charges you are facing, it is important to know that either is very serious and can result in a conviction that leads to having a criminal record, jail time, expensive fines, and other punishments. Criminal defense attorneys know that it can seem overwhelming when you have been charged with drug possession, but it is important to know the details of these charges so that we can begin building our defense. When you were charged, you may have heard a charge for either actual or constructive possession but you may not know the difference between the two.  

Actual Possession of Drugs

When a police officer charges you with drug possession, you may think of the typical drug bust you see in a movie. Perhaps a high school kid is caught with a little bag of marijuana in his backpack or somewhere on his person. This is considered actual possession of drugs. If you are found with the drugs on your person in some way, a police officer can charge you with actual possession of the drugs. In this scenario specifically, it appears that you were the only person who had access to the drugs and that no one else had access or control. 

Constructive Possession of Drugs

In this scenario, the police officer who charged you likely believes that you are not the only person who had knowledge of the drugs in question. This would occur because the drugs were probably hidden in a more public area than simply on your person. For example, if the drugs were found in a shared room at an apartment or a house or if they were found in a car with multiple passengers, a police officer may have reason to charge you and others with constructive possession. 

What does a conviction mean?

Either way, criminal defense attorneys know that a drug possession conviction can completely change your life even if this is the first time you have faced a charge like this. However, it is important to remember that a charge is not a conviction and that we will work hard to find a defense that works for your situation. For example, the police officer or the prosecution will need to prove that you had knowledge of the drugs. Without knowledge, a drug possession charge cannot hold up in court. We will comb through the details of your case to provide you with the representation you need. 

For more information on how a drug possession lawyer in Bloomington, IL can defend you, contact a law office now. 


Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into criminal law and actual versus constructive drug possession charges.