What is the Difference Between Physical and Constructive Drug Possession?

2-1024x1024What is the Difference Between Physical and Constructive Drug Possession?

Drug possession charges can be serious. If you have been arrested on drug charges you could be facing some severe consequences, depending on the circumstances. If you are in possession of enough quantity of a substance, you could even be looking at drug distribution charges. It is helpful to understand the difference between physical and constructive drug possession in North Carolina. An experienced criminal defense attorney will assist in providing a strong defense against drug charges.


Physical Possession

The police may use the term “physical drug possession” to refer to illegal substances they find on your person. It means that you had drugs directly on you or in your personal backpack or purse. For example, if the police pat you down and locate a baggie of drugs in your sock, you will likely face a drug possession charge. Physical possession includes drugs that you are holding or carrying at the time.


Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”


Constructive Possession

Constructive drug possession means that you have illegal substances under your control, but not directly on your person. An example of constructive possession is when the police locate illegal drugs inside the trunk of your car. While you did not have them in your pocket, you can still be charged with possession because when you are driving a car you are in control of all the contents of the vehicle.


Can A Driver and Passenger Be Charged?illegal-drug-paraphernalia-2259052-683x1024

Generally, if the police find illegal drugs inside a vehicle, but not on a person, they will try to determine which driver or passenger had them. If nobody admits to having them, the police could charge one or more passengers with constructive possession of drugs. This can occur if the substance was located near or within reach of the person and they were likely in control of the drugs.


Drug Testing

The severity of drug possession charges will depend on the type of controlled substance that was found. The police may perform preliminary drug testing at the time of the arrest. Law enforcement will then send the substance to a lab for testing. Some substances are deemed more harmful and thus you will face a more severe penalty if convicted of possession. The lab report will provide confirmation of the specific substance that they located as well as the amount that was confiscated.


Defending Drug Possession Charges

Drug possession charges may result in a variety of penalties if convicted. You could face fines, probation, community service, a drug education program, a jail sentence, and more, depending on the factors associated with your particular case. You will want to provide a strong defense to these charges. The prosecutor must be able to prove that the substance located is illegal and that you were in possession of it. Constructive possession may be harder to prove and therefore, could be easier to refute.


If you have been charged with drug possession, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. Contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your charges.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.






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