If Texas law enforcement officers charge a person with a drug crime, the prosecutor must be able to prove in court that the controlled substances the officers found belonged to the defendant. Proving that the person possessed the drugs may not be difficult if an officer provides testimony that he or she found the drugs on the person of the defendant.

However, if they were found somewhere nearby, the prosecutor must rely on circumstantial evidence that the defendant had possession of the drugs.

According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, constructive possession refers to legal ownership. To prove constructive possession, the prosecutor would have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge of the drugs and was in control of them.

For example, perhaps the defendant was in an apartment where there were other people. If the drugs were in a duffle bag beside the couch, there may be no proof that the drugs belonged to the defendant and not one of the other people in the apartment. The prosecutor would not likely be able to convict the defendant of drug possession without further evidence.

On the other hand, if the drugs were in a locked box under the defendant’s bed, and the defendant had the key, FindLaw explains that it becomes reasonable to believe that the defendant owned the drugs because he or she was the person in control of them.

The drugs do not necessarily have to be under lock and key, of course. A prosecutor may claim constructive possession if the drugs were in any place in the defendant’s home that was in his or her control, regardless of the presence of other people.