The Constructive Possession Defense for Marijuana

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:

  1. Exercised dominion and control over it;
  2. Knew of its presence; and
  3. 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.