Drug possession charges are commonly associated with individuals caught in possession of illegal substances. However, you might wonder what happens when you are just a passenger in a vehicle where police discover drugs.
To answer whether a passenger can receive a drug possession charge in such a scenario, it is important to look at several aspects of the law.
The legal perspective
From a legal standpoint, it is possible for a passenger to face drug possession charges. The key factor is whether the authorities can establish that the passenger had knowledge of the drugs and exercised control over them. In other words, if the passenger was aware of the illicit substances in the vehicle and had the ability to access them, they could be liable.
The concept of constructive possession comes into play in situations like these. Constructive possession means that even if the drugs are not physically on the person, they can still receive a charge if they had the ability to control the substances.
Circumstantial evidence matters
In these cases, circumstantial evidence becomes highly relevant. If law enforcement finds drugs in a vehicle and the passenger has a link to those drugs through their knowledge and control, they may face drug possession charges. This type of evidence could include witness statements, the passenger’s proximity to the drugs and any actions that suggest awareness.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that the drug abuse arrest rate for 2020 was 302.6 arrests for every 100,000 citizens. It is clear that law enforcement takes no chances when it comes to cracking down on drug use, and that philosophy extends to arresting vehicle passengers during search operations when evidence allows.