Possession - Everyday or Imaginary


Time for some legal jargon: In order to be convicted for the possession of a controlled substances the state must prove that you consciously and intentionally possessed a controlled substance, either actually or constructively, and with an awareness of the presences and nature of the substance.

Sound complicated enough? That's because it is. What this means is that a person can be found to be in possession of a controlled substance (drugs) even when they do not have actual, or what I like to call everyday, possession. Actual possession is what we all think of as possession when we consider the word on an everyday basis. For instance I have possession of my computer as I am writing this. It is in my hands and I have control over it. Nobody else is touching it and nobody else has access to it. It is in my possession. However, in Missouri and Illinois, and almost all other states, you can be convicted of possession even when you do not have everyday possession of illegal Drugs.

The courts call this constructive possession. I like to call it imaginary possession. What this means is you can be found to be in possession of drugs just because the drugs are in an area that you control. For example, I have possession of my computer when I leave it in my office. I have sole control of my office, so it can be implied that I have control over my computer as a result. Because the criminal code has created this legal fiction of imaginary possession, possession has become the most commonly litigated, or argued, element of the crime of possession of drugs.

Imaginary possession has far reaching and lasting effects. One of which is that more than one person can be charged with possession of the same drugs. For instance, if I share my office with somebody and the police find drugs in the middle of the office (not in my desk or in the other guy's desk, but square in the middle of the communal part of the office) and we both deny the drugs as being ours, we both can be charged with possession. Because we both have possession of the office, we both have constructive possession of the drugs.

On top of proving that you have possession of the drugs the state must also prove that you knew the drugs were there and that you knew what the drugs were. These issues open up a whole other bag of things to litigate and can help to keep you out of jail.

In short, there is no such thing as a simple possession case. If you have been charged with possession of an illegal drug call a criminal defense attorney immediately. The criminal defense attorneys at The Sumner Law Group have successfully defended many drug possession cases and would love to help you resolve yours. Call somebody who can help. Call the St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at the Sumner Law Group.