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What is the difference between actual possession and constructive possession in Florida?

In order to convict one for possession of drugs or paraphernalia the state must prove that the person was in actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance or paraphernalia.

Actual possession means that the item was (1) in the hands of or on the person, (2) in a container on the person, or (3) extremely close and within reach of the person.

In constructive possession, the drugs or contraband are not found on the person. In order to prove constructive possession, the state must show beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant knew of the presence of the contraband and (2) that he or she had the ability to exercise dominion and control over it.

It can be very difficult (if not impossible) for the state to prove that a person was in constructive possession of a substance if there were multiple people around the substance (such as in a car or in a room in a house) and there are no statements where the defendant admits ownership of the substance.

If you have been charged with possessing a substance such as pills, cocaine, marijuana, MDMA, or paraphernalia, call our office to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who will review your case with you and help you decide your best course of action.

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