Tag Archives: constructive possession

St. Charles drug possession defense attorney

In Illinois, it is a crime to possess illicit substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. However, knowing exactly what counts as being in possession of these substances is not always easy. For example, if a passenger drops a small baggie of cocaine in your car, and it is later discovered by police, are you considered to be in possession of the substance, even though it was not technically on your person? It is essential if you are facing drug charges in Illinois to understand the nature of the charges laid against you and to be fully informed of your defense options. Being charged with possession of a controlled substance can result in significant penalties, so it is imperative to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

The Definition of Drug "Possession"

There are two distinct forms of possession according to Illinois law: actual possession and constructive possession. If you are caught by police with illegal drugs on you, this is considered actual possession. The illicit substance may be discovered in your hand, in your pocket, or in a backpack or purse belonging to you. You may also be charged with actual possession if law enforcement witnesses you attempting to hide or dispose of the substance. For example, if an officer sees you throw something out of your car window while you are being pulled over, you may be accused of being in actual possession of an illicit substance.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Constructive-Possession-of-weapon.jpgThe charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW) is a serious crime in Illinois and can carry harsh penalties. Constructive possession of a weapon exists when an offender does not have the weapon on his or her person, but does exercise control over it. The Illinois Appellate Court’s recent ruling in People v. Daniel Smith clarifies existing law on the type of evidence considered sufficient to constitute constructive possession.

The Case

In 2012, Greyhound bus driver discovered a bag containing a handgun that was left behind by a passenger. Intending to take the bag to his supervisor, the driver disembarked, carrying the bag. He was then approached by the defendant whom the driver recognized as a passenger who had been sitting near where the bag was found. The defendant proceeded to tell the driver that the bag was his. The driver asked him what was in the bag and he responded, “Nothing but a BB gun.” The driver refused to turn the bag over, and delivered it to his supervisor as planned. After law enforcement was contacted, the gun was identified as a semi-automatic handgun with a live round in the chamber. The defendant was arrested, charged, and convicted of six counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

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