When a passenger leaves drugs in your car
Ever been caught with drugs in your car and you have no knowledge of it, whatsoever. The scenario is – you are a taxi driver and have dropped your passenger. Later you are pulled over by police for a trivial offence like running a stop sign or speeding. The officer asks if he can search the car and finds small amount of prohibited drugs in your car.
Even though there can be different explanations, the fact is, you are held responsible for something in your general vicinity but not on your person, whether you knew about it or not. This is called “Constructive Possession”.
What is constructive possession?
‘Possession’ can be power, custody or control of something. For example, you are holding something in your hand amounts to ‘actual possession’. ‘Constructive Possession’ is where a person may have knowledge of something but does not exercise actual control over it.
The accepted formula for that process states that the court must presume that the prosecution must prove mens rea. It means, prosecution has to prove that the accused knew of the existence of the drug. Actual knowledge or awareness is an essential element of the guilty mind required for the commission of the offence.
Finding drugs in your car does not prove your guilt. The prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused knew or was aware that an article which was intentionally in his/her possession comprised or contained a prohibited drug. If there is a possibility of several people having access to the drugs, there is a room for reasonable doubt whether the drugs were possessed by the accused.
How can Sydney Traffic Lawyers help?
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