There are serious risks involved in having drugs in your car, even if they aren’t yours. If you allow one of your friends to bring an illegal substance into your vehicle, you could end up paying the price.
Who is Responsible if Drugs are Found in Car
If drugs are found in a car, the driver, passengers, or a combination of both can be charged with possession of illegal drugs and be held responsible. Even if a passenger is found to be in possession of drugs, the driver can be found in violation of constructive possession.
Constructive vs. Actual Possession
There are two main types of possession charges: actual and constructive. Actual possession is when the illegal drugs are found directly on your person or in your personal belongings. An example of this would be if the police find a marijuana joint in your purse.
Constructive possession is more complicated than that and is what may lead you to face criminal charges for your friend’s drugs. Constructive possession occurs when drugs are found in a location that you have control over. When illegal drugs or objects are found in a car with multiple passengers, the driver holding the keys is automatically assumed to have some level of responsibility. This is because they have control over the car and thus, constructive possession of the illegal drugs.
So, while your friend who owns the drugs may be found in actual possession, you, the driver, can be found in violation of constructive possession.
If Your Car Crosses State Lines
It is important to note that this issue becomes even more serious if you cross state lines with the drugs in your car. This could elevate the offense to a federal drug crime, and depending on the amount of drug present, could also lead to drug trafficking charges.
We cannot emphasize enough that you should always be aware of what your passengers are bringing into your car.
How to Say “No”
In some cases, your friends may not ask or alert you that they’re bringing drugs into your car. However, in other cases, they may ask for your permission first, or give you a heads up. You may be worried about being perceived as uptight if you tell them that you’re uncomfortable having their drugs in your car. We understand that it can be hard to navigate this situation.
Here are some tips for how to handle saying no to your friends who want to bring drugs along for the ride:
- Be firm: Don’t leave the conversation up for discussion. Firmly state that you’re not okay with drugs in the car while you’re driving.
- Explain the risks: Your friend may be completely unaware that them bringing drugs puts everyone else in the car at risk of being arrested, too. Explain that that’s not a chance you want to take.
- Don’t give in: If your friend tries to persuade you that you won’t get caught and it’s barely a risk, don’t give in to the pressure. In the end, it’s your future that could be affected by the drug arrest. Do what is best for you.
Savannah Drug Crimes Attorney
If you are facing drug charges, contact attorney Courtney Lerch at The Lerch Law Firm. We have helped numerous individuals fight their drug possession charges, as well as other serious offenses. You can count on us to get you the best possible outcome.