In South Carolina, is it really “The Hand of One Is the Hand of All?”
Don’t leave your common sense behind when you leave for college.
The scenario is all too common in the criminal defense field: An officer pulls over a car, does a search and finds marijuana in the vehicle. The marijuana is not physically possessed by anyone. All the individuals in the vehicle state they don’t know who owns the marijuana but they do know it isn’t their marijuana. In this scenario, an officer will most likely charge all the passengers with possession of marijuana under a theory of what is legally referred to as constructive possession. If you have been charged with possession under a constructive possession theory the state must prove that you had possession, or dominion and control in this case, and that you had knowledge of that possession.
If you are charged you will have the right to a jury trial and you or your lawyer can defend you by stating that you did not possess any drugs and that you could not be in possession of the drugs because the drugs were found in X and you were seated at Y so therefore there is no way you were in possession. Whether you are found guilty or not guilty will ultimately be decided by a jury that has to decide whether they believe you or not. This isn’t a situation you want to be in so be safe, and don’t ride in vehicles with people who may be carrying drugs or you might be calling me to defend you.
If you are a South Carolina Life Scholarship recipient you should know that if you are convicted of any felony or you have been convicted of a second subsequent alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor in any state within the past academic year you will be ineligible for the life scholarship.
Alex Kornfeld is a Greenville, SC Criminal Defense Attorney. If you, or someone you know has been arrested, or is under suspicion of a crime, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney first. You may reach Atty. Kornfeld at his office 864-335-9990