Can I be convicted of gun possession if it wasnt mine? 60 Answers as of August 24, 2011

Gun was found in friend's backpack which was on the front passenger seat. I was in the rear passenger side. Two already pled guilty for the possession. Can I still be convicted for possession?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You would need to be in possession of the gun for that to happen, meaning it was under your control. It would up to the prosecutor to prove that. If they try charging you with that as while, you need to seek legal counsel quickly. I would argue that if the other two already pled guilty to being in possession, then you could not have been in possession and as a matter of law the matter has already been resolved.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
Its possible, but you should be able to beat this possession charge if the other occupants of the car have said the gun is theirs.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
You should not be convicted of the crime if the weapon was not in your possession or control. You should consult with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
If you were not aware that it was there and it is not yours as a general rule then you could not be convicted, however i would need to know more information to answer better.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/11/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Possession of contraband requires a showing that the defendant (you) had actual care, custody, or control of the contraband. Unless there are more facts than you put here, you should go to trial and win.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Yes, especially if either you (pro se) or your attorney do not fight the case properly
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    This will depend largely upon the specific details of this matter including such items as whether or not the vehicle belonged to you, whether or not prosecutor's expect to be able to prove that you were aware of the presence of the weapon etc. Illegal gun charges can carry very serious penalties and you should consider consulting directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area who will be able to advise you of your rights based on a higher level of detail. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, I invite you to contact my firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    It sounds to me like you are not guilty. With a good defense lawyer on your side you should be okay.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Technically, yes, you can. However, this sounds like a very weak case. You should consult with an attorney who can talk to the prosecutor for you.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If the gun was not in your possession nor your control you need to hire an attorney and fight the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Gun was found in friend's backpack which was on the front > passenger seat. I was in the rear passenger side. Two already pled guilty
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    Do not plead guilty without fully discussing your matter with your attorney. If the gun was found inside of a backpack belonging to another, and that person has pled guilty, it would appear that the case against you is extremely weak. Unless the prosecutor has some evidience linking you to the gun, such as an admission, prints, or a witness, then the legal case against you based upon a legal presumption may have evaporated. Advice; Hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    Yes you can be convicted of possession, depending on the circumstances. Possession of contraband may be actual or constructive. Actual possession is something found on your person. Constructive possession entails access, knowledge and control. So, if it can be proved that you knew the gun was in the backpack and you had access and control of it, you may be convicted of possession. In order to prove this in court, the prosecution needs to show evidence in this regard, usually a statement by you saying you knew the gun was there. Without any such evidence, proving you guilty is much more difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    I would certainly need to know more about this. Feel free to call to discuss further.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. There is a rebuttable presumption that everyone in the car possessed the weapon.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    Dear Sir/Madam - I believe that you have some legitimate defenses to assert in your case. Unless the backpack can somehow be tied to you. I would have made constructive possession defense in all likelihood and if you have not hired an attorney
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You can be convicted unless you are very careful. People make the mistake all the time thinking that just because they know that they are innocent that everyone else will understand it that same way and they will be exonerated. The law has specific definitions and there is a thing called "constructive possession" whereby if a person has dominion and control over an item, they can be legal held to be in possession of that item. A gun charge is very serious and should be handled very carefully by an experienced attorney. Make sure that you either hire one or if you cannot afford one, ask the court to appoint one for you. DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY!
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes more than one person can possess something. Did you have access to it? Did you even know it was there? Were you under an expectation that you could use it? These are all important questions. You need a good attorney!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    If it can be proven that you were in constructive possession of the weapon by knowing of its presence and having some ability to exercise control of it, (like it was actually yours or that you had had possession of it earlier among other possibilities) you could be prosecuted. It is a matter of proof for the prosecutor. Normally one would not be prosecuted under the facts you describe unless there was more evidence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C.
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C. | Wayne Brucar
    You can potentially be convicted if the State can show you were in constructive possession of the gun. It would have to be shown that you knew the gun was there and you had access to it. Please understand that answering this doesn't create an attorney/client relationship between us, and as hard as I try to answer your question well, it isn't legal advice. No matter how much information you put into a question, the answers you are going to get are still going to be vague. It is in your interest to contact a lawyer, most of whom will do a free consultation. Even 15 minutes with a lawyer is going to produce a more specific answer to your problem.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Technically yes you can, you should make sure you have a good attorney as the prior pleas should help you pull away from this charge, as well as the location of the weapon relative to you in the car... Make sure you have a good attorney...
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    The DA has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew it was there and that it was in your custody or control. I don't know all of the evidence; but given what you describe, consider not pleading guilty and taking it to trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    The prosecutor will have to prove that you were in legal possession of the weapon. This can be done by direct or circumstantial evidence. You need to immediately meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you do anything else.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Typically only one person owns a backpack, so if you were in the backseat and not in close proximity to able to access the backpack and it was not yours, and you had no knowledge or control over the gun, the case can be made that you were not in possession. Of course this would have to be argued by your attorney after a thorough investigation.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Anything is possible, however if you were not in the immediate area of the weapon, you should be able to beat the case or win on trial. However, get an attorney to represent you in any case, as the possible consequences of a conviction are extremely serious to your future career plans.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You need to hire an attorney quickly, otherwise the state will try to roll right over you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    You could be convicted but there is no reason for you to be if you are represented by a good criminal defense attorney. Possession does not have to be actual, it can be constructive. Constructive possession occurs when there is something that is within your dominion and control even if it is not actually in your hand. If you did not know the gun was there and you had nothing to do with it being in the back pack, you are not guilty and you should not plead guilty. Of course I do not know the facts of your case so an attorney who is actually in a position to review the evidence would be in the best position to give you advice.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    It is possible for you to be found guilty but based on only these facts it is not probable in my opinion. I m assuming no one gave a statement suggesting this gun was in your possession. Mike
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Don't have enough facts, but it sounds like you were in close enough proximity that it could be an issue.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    No
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Yes, you could possibly be convicted. It's possible for more than one person to possess a gun. But a gun in someone else's backpack in a car you were riding in is awfully skinny as a basis for conviction. Talk to your lawyer; the devil is in the details.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Can you be convicted? Yes. People are convicted all the time who should not be. BUT, if you have a good lawyer, the lawyer ought to be able to get the case dismissed if the facts are as you have stated. While more than one person can possess (have care, custody, control) an object, the backpack did not belong to you and it was not within your reach. I can see them keeping a case on the owner of the backpack, the front passenger, and possibly the driver but not a non-owner in the back seat. If the lawyer can't get a dismissal, I would set that case on the trial docket.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    You can be. You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    August 5, 2011 Possession of any article can be sole or joint possession. If the prosecutor can prove that you knew about the gun and you planned to have possession of the gun or maintain dominion over the gun you could be found guilty of possession of same.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Can you be convicted? Sure. Will you be? That depends upon whether the prosecutor can prove their case against you. More than one person can be found guilty of the possession when the gun was in common accessible area. What can you do? When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone about the case except an attorney. Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence, facts and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. You can hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. The attorney will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help use whatever defenses there may be.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.
    Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. | Andrew R. Lynch
    You could, but you sound like you have a triable case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You would have a defense. to be convicted of possession, you must have constructive possession of the weapon and an intent to possess it.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    From what you have indicated you need to take this case to trial. Admit guilt only if this was your gun.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you are in a vehicle with a gun hidden in an area that you could get at it then you can be charged on a presumption that you are exercising "control and dominion over thee gun". It does not have to be on your person. If it was in another's backpack and that can be proven you will win the trial. If the other two plead guilty and admitted the gun was theirs or that they possessed it that can possibly help your chance of convincing a jury that you were not "knowingly" in possession of the weapon. Retain a good criminal lawyer, or my office to investigate the matter and prove that the gun was not possessed by you either physically or "constructively" under a very poorly written and ill-conceived law that should have been modified years ago. The problem is, if the law said you have to have contraband on your person, only a few cases could be won by the prosecutors. Under this law, people who are innocent can be convicted and serve 5 years or more in prison for a violent felony offense they are not guilty of, especially if they have a bad criminal record and are with criminals so that the jury does not give their testimony much credibility.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    This all turns on whether you had possession of the weapon within the meaning of the law. You need to consult with your counsel on this, and if you do not have defense counsel or are not happy with the level of service he is providing we can represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Yes you could be convicted, but you may have a valid defense and be acquitted. The best way to win is to hire the best lawyer in your locality.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    It all depends on all the facts and circumstances of your case, which are unknown to me, except the fact that the gun was in the front of the car in back. I hope that you have hired an attorney. In New Jersey possession of a handgun is a second degree crime, punishable by up to ten years in prison, with the presumption of imprisonment.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    To prove possesion, the prosecutor has to prove actual possession (i.e. you had control of the gun) or constructive possession (i.e. you had control of the vehicle). If it wasn't your gun or your backpack, you were not in possession of the gun.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    As long as the gun was accessible to you, you can be convicted. Under Washington Law, possession includes actual or constructive possession. Constructive possession means you can or could exercise dominion or control over the gun you have possession. In other words, if you can lay hands on it, you possess it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Yes if you had knowledge of it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Yes, if you had constructive possession and the ability to obtain the gun. But, you should fight the charge and hire a good lawyer is the charge is serious, and a good lawyer could potentially get the charges dismissed, filed, or deferred.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    All three of you can "possess" the gun at the same time. It is called constructive possession. If you knew it was there and had access to it, you possessed it. You do not have to own it to possess it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Technically, more than one person can possess the same item at the same time - a theory of joint possession. Think of it like a pizza sitting on the table in front go a bunch of guys. They're all able to access the pizza and all in possession of it. The difference is that in criminal law, they must prove knowing possession. That's two elements. Knowing - as in did you know the gun was there and Possession - did you have the ability to access it in a legal sense? With two others in the front seat having already plead guilty, you may be able to get out from this charge, but it really depends on the facts and what your attorney can do for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    Potentially, yes. The question is whether the gun was knowingly within your care, custody and control. However, you should consult an attorney about any possible defenses.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    That does not sound like possession to me. Did you even know the gun was there? What proof do they have that you did? proof that you touched the gun? At any point, did you have control over it? It is possible for multiple people to possess one item, but that does not mean everyone standing near a gun is in possession of it.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You sure can if you don't have a good lawyer. You are just a file sitting on the prosecutor's desk. If they can get multiple idiots to plead to the same offense, they will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    More than one person may possess something at the same time. But this is a case that I would recommend taking to trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    You can, but it seems like you may have a good defense. How can 3 people posses one gun? You should contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Under the facts given it is very doubtful you could be convicted of the crime, unless items in the backpack can be traced to you, like ID's or bills.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    The State must prove you were aware the gun was there and you had mutual access to it. As unreasonable as it may seem, everyone in the car could theoretically be charged with and convicted of possessing the one gun.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/5/2011
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