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What is the difference between actual and constructive possession?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Drug Charges

A conviction for drug offenses in Florida can have very serious consequences. Being in possession of illegal substances is just one form of a drug charge. Facing such charges could result in significant fines or extended imprisonment.

The law on possession offenses is Florida statute 893.13, and the list of illegal substances in the state include but are not limited to marijuana, cocaine and heroin. 

However, it is important to note that Florida has different forms of possession, namely actual possession and constructive possession. Being able to distinguish between the two could be in your best interests. 

What is actual possession? 

Actual possession typically refers to a person having controlled illegal substances on their person. For example, illegal narcotics may have been found in their pocket after an authorized search by law enforcement. 

What is controlled possession? 

Constructive possession can be trickier to define. It generally means that someone doesn’t have drugs on their person. However, they will generally be aware of illegal substances and retain some sort of control over them. 

One common example of constructive possession may occur when you ride as a passenger in a friend’s car. You may be aware that they have narcotics in the trunk. If the car is then subject to an authorized search, and there’s a discovery of illegal substances, you may be considered to have controlled possession over them. 

Being convicted of drug offenses in Florida can have life-altering consequences. If you are faced with such charges, it is important to understand your legal rights.