Is it possible to charge two people with possession of one drug? 58 Answers as of June 07, 2013

Is it possible to charge two people with possesion of one solid peice of crack cocaine?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Yes, it is.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/2/2013
DeVito & Visconti, PA
DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
Yes, two people can be charged; but, both may not be convicted. The police are claiming that the cocaine was possessed by both (joint possession). The Commonwealth must prove at trial that both parties intended to possess the cocaine. The fact that one person happened to be present when cocaine is found on another is not enough to establish joint possession. Carefully review the police report to see if there are any other facts which might suggest that the cocaine was jointly possessed.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 10/24/2011
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
Yes - see it happens often. If the crack is say sitting on the console between the driver & passenger, then both can be arrested and convicted. The question is who is in care, custody, and control of the drug. If one person tells authorities that the crack was theirs, then it is likely that the case against the other party would be dismissed - but not necessarily.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/24/2011
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
Yes, if they were both legally is possession of it. For instance, in a vehicle, there is a legal presumption of possession of everyone in the vehicle to have possession if something illegal is found within the passenger compartment, including the glove compartment, of that vehicle.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/21/2011
Gutin and Wolverton
Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
Yes. If both are using it (handing it to each other) then each has possessed it. There are other factual scenarios that would justify both people being charged. However, just because one person is near another does not mean that person "possessed" the drug or paraphernalia.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/20/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Yes. Possession of crack cocaine or any other illegal drug can be sole or joint possession as well as actual or constructive possession. constructive possession is where you do not have the drugs in your possession but you intend to exercise control over the drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Yes, each could be charged based upon separate evidence of possession. There are several forms of possession; actual and constructive. Actual would be where the drugs are found on the person, where constructive would include a person having some sort of knowing control over an item.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need more details but generally yes it is possible.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/7/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    It's possible I suppose. If you both possessed it at different times for example. It would just depend on the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
    Depending on the circumstances, yes it is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    Yes. Possession may be actual or constructive. If two people have knowledge and access or control over contraband, they may both be charged with possession.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Yes, under a number of different theories. One easy theory is that of accessory. If a person is an accessory to possession, then they are just as guilty. Both could be charged and convicted. You raise a good defense which could be presented at trial and could result in a dismissal even prior to trial, depending on the circumstances. You should discuss this with the attorney you hire to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    Yes - this is a typical situation to try to get one of you to take responsibility for the drugs.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Yes, it is possible. Possession involves "dominion and control", not necessarily "ownership". It is possible for two or more people to have dominion and control of an item. The relative strength of the cases against the two parties may differ depending upon the facts of the case.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Two people can be charged, but it would be very difficult for the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The first argument is that if the State charged both people, then even they are not sure who the drugs belonged to, and cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what the standard is before the case should be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    Yes, in many situations. In a car, in open view in an apartment. All tenants in an apartment in common areas. If the cop see one person pas the drugs to another, both can be charged. These are just some examples.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Yes, if they both possessed it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    Yes, two people can be charged with possession of the same drug under the legal theory of constructive possession. For example, if the police found a rock of crack cocaine on a coffee table during the execution of a search warrant, and you and a friend were seated around the coffee table, you could both be charged with possession of crack cocaine. This is true because the crack cocaine was in found in an area over which you both exercised possession and control over the same drug.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Anyone who is in a car, boat, plane, or premises can be charged with possession under a "constructive possession" presumption unless the drugs were in the pocket or concealed on the body of an individual. The theory is that everyone has access to the drugs and they had "dominion and control" over the drugs. The drugs do not have to be in open view or visible, they just have to be in the vehicle or premises while you were present. Your attorney will argue that you had no knowledge that the drugs were present or that they belonged to someone else and it will be up to the prosecutor or jury to decide your guilt. It is a terrible law, but otherwise the police could not charge anyone in the house or car unless it was actually in their hand or pocket. You cannot put a pound of drugs in your pocket and the drugs are often hidden or thrown on the ground and so the law allows the police to arrest everyone and let the prosecutor or jury determine who owned the drugs later in court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Yes. There is actual possession and constructive possession. The DA is likely to charge two people in order to get one defendant to turn in the other.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Yes. Two people can possess the same drug, if they have equal access.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    Yes, we have joint possession.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Yes and so long as you have different lawyers they will fight about whose it really was but if you guys were together or one was the buyer and the other the seller, yes they can.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes they could for example have it in a pipe they are sharing.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Under a theory of constructive possession it is possible. The classic example is a car stop where the police find one gun in a car with a driver and four passengers. All 5 people can be charged with possessing that gun.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/19/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Yes because of the doctrine of "constructive possession." Constructive possession, as opposed to the more concrete "actual possession", exists when one or more people may not physically possess the object but have the ability to exercise control over the object. You may, for example, constructively possess the food on your refrigerator with the rest of your family, except of course things that say "This is mine! Don't touch!" in black magic marker.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Yes it is. Possession can be either actual possession or constructive possession. With constructive possession, the person charged must have access to the drug meaning it is within one's reach. If the rock is situated in a center console or between two people, both may be charged and convicted. That is why people with licenses to carry a gun must carry it on their person. Otherwise, two people could be sitting in a car. Once might be a convicted felon while the other one has the license. Because of constructive possession, it is illegal for the license holder to put a gun anywhere in a moving car other than on his or her person.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    The legal definition of possession does, indeed, allow two people to be charged with possession of one piece of contraband. Possession can be actual (if you have it in your hand when you are confronted by law enforcement) or constructive (it is found in a car that you and the other person are occupying). Constructive possession simply means that you 1) know that the piece of contraband is there, and 2) that you and the other person had the power and intention to control the piece of contraband. Meaning, you could pick it up and use it or the other person could pick it up and use it if either of you wished. If you can show a jury that you knew the piece of contraband was there, but that it wasn't yours to use, you might be guilty of a lesser charge of misdemeanor Frequenting a place where you knew drugs were present. If you can convince a jury you didn't even know the piece of contraband was present, the jury may acquit you of possession. Those are just examples to explain what possession means in relation to two people being charged with having the same piece of contraband. Your facts may be vastly different. You need the advice of a competent criminal defense attorney to determine if the state can prove that you possessed the solid piece of crack cocaine.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    It is possible to charge two people with possession of one piece of crack cocaine. If there is a dispute as to who was in possession of the rock then it is left to the court or trial jury to determine possession. In a case such as this the police are trying to get the defendants to either roll over on each other or both to take a deal. Consult with an attorney and do not talk with anyone about this case without your attorney there with you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Yes. It is called joint possession and it is pretty common.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It is possible for two people to be charged with one drug possession. If the possession is the result of a sale or transfer from one person to another and the sale or transfer is witnessed by both then charges can be made to both individuals.


    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Miel & Carr, PLC
    Miel & Carr, PLC | Keeley D Heath
    It is certainly possible, although it may raise a defense. You haven't provided very many facts. If one person possessed it, and then gave it to the next person, then both people may be guilty of possessing it, simply at different times. It would be more difficult to prove if, for example, two people were riding in a car, and it is unclear who actually possessed the substance.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Oh, yes. If the drugs are held and controlled by one person, they are in the sole possession of the drugs. If two or more people have access to the drugs and are using them, they are said tobe injoint possession. Almost anything can be jointly possessed, not just drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs
    Law Office of Craig E. Gibbs | Craig Gibbs
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Yes. It is common, but both can raise a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Cops do it all the time and unfortunately, they get away with it because too many people plea guilty out of fear, to get out of jail (when they cannot afford bail) or just to get the issue over with. If both sides stand up to the DA and demand trials, the DA has to choose. Think of it this way, the DA has to choose the party they think they can put it on best, if that party pleas, or is found guilty, the DA has no evidence on the second person. Better yet, if the first wins acquittal, they can then come to court and admit it was theirs at the second persons trial. (Double Jeopardy keeps the DA from doing anything about it.) In this case, both walk, the DA and the Cop get a lesson in humility and this kind of crap will stop.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Yes. Proving the charge is another matter.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    It could be possible under a theory of constructive possession, where both people are exercising dominion and control over the place where the drug is located. Or actual possession if both people are using the same drug.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Yes. There can be joint possession.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Yes, but proving who had possession is another matter.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    The Schiffer Firm, LLC
    The Schiffer Firm, LLC | Joshua G. Schiffer
    Yes, but there are several very good defenses to this set of circumstances including "Equal Access." More facts are necessary for a complete analysis, but this could be a very strong case for the defense.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    Yes. If the DA has probable cause to believe that either person had possession. This typically occurs when nobody will admit that the drug is theirs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Yes - but getting the conviction may be harder. The DA has to prove that a defendant both knew about the thing and that the thing was a drug - if the drug was in a common area where both defendants were, there is a probable cause that each knew of it BUT it is possible that neither person knew of it.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/18/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    Yes. If the drug is in a location accessible to both people, (ex. Glove box), then both people can be arrested.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/18/2011
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