The drug defense attorneys at GRL Law have seen it all when it comes to traffic stops involving cannabis. This is especially true when police charge a driver with possession for weed located under a passenger’s seat.
Is there a defense for the driver?
Because this marijuana is not actually found on the driver, the State must establish he constructively possessed it by proving he:
- Exercised dominion and control over it;
- Knew of its presence; and
- Knew it was a controlled substance.
A driver’s close physical proximity to contraband is insufficient to constitute dominion and control. The same applies to knowledge. A jury cannot infer either element. Instead, the State must establish both control and knowledge with proof.
So, when the driver is accompanied, the marijuana is hidden from plain view under a passenger’s seat and is not commingled with the driver’s personal belongings, a constructive possession defense is primed for argument. When argued persuasively, this defense raises reasonable doubt for the driver.