What is constructive drug possession?

While many other states (including some nearby) have started to relax their stance on certain drugs, Texas isn’t one of them. Drug crimes are still heavily prosecuted here, including possession.

There are two basic ways that you can end up charged with drug possession: actual and constructive. Actual possession is what most people think of when they hear the term “drug possession,” because it means that drugs were found either directly on your person, in your car, in your home or somewhere else where you had exclusive control over and access to them.

Constructive drug possession is more complicated. This means that the police found the drugs in your general vicinity, but not directly on you. They may even be in an area where multiple people could access or control them. In many cases, the drugs may not even be yours.

How can you be charged with possession of drugs that aren’t yours?

Consider this example: You’re a college student, and you rent a house with four other students. One day, the police show up with a search warrant and they find a cache of drugs hidden in the lettuce drawer of the fridge in the kitchen you all share.

None of your roommates will admit the drugs were theirs. Given the location of the drugs, you’re all arrested under the theory of constructive possession because:

  • You all had access (and, therefore, control) over the drugs
  • There’s reason to believe that you all knew the drugs were there
  • There’s reason to believe that you all knew the drugs were illegal

It would be an entirely different situation if the police found the drugs in the little personal fridge that one of your roommates kept behind their own locked bedroom door.

Constructive possession charges often have defendants crying foul, especially since whether you get charged or not may be up to police or prosecutor discretion. Find out more about what defenses are most effective for these kinds of situations.