Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drug possession in a motor vehicle

I represented a defendant in a methamphetamine case were the issue was possession. The methamphetamine was found in my client's motor vehicle. A passenger was also in my client's vehicle.

The state attempted to prove their case through "constructive" possession. In order to show constructive possession, the State must prove: a) that the officers found the methamphetamine in a place under Defendant's exclusive control to which other people did not normally have access; or b) that there is a strong possibility, which may be inferred from the evidence, that Defendant consciously exercised dominion and control over the methamphetamine if it was found in a place to which other people had access. State v. Florine, 303 Minn. 103, 105, 226 N.W.2d 609, 611 (Minn. 1975).

The State attempted to also work in the presumption of control one has when operating a motor vehicle. However, this presumption can be overcome. In this case, the presumption was overcome. The officer allowed the passenger to remain in the vehicle while searching and running a background check on my client for 45 minutes. Furthermore, the officer observed the passenger make "furtive" movements while in the vehicle. In addition, the officer then allowed the passenger to leave the scene without searching the passenger.

The verdict was returned as Not Guilty.

It is important that you have an attorney review all the allegations and "evidence" the government alleges to have against you. There may be inconsistencies or mistakes made that the untrained eye will not recognize. If you have questions about your case, please contact Patrick W. Flanagan for a free consultation.

Patrick W. Flanagan

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