1. Marijuana in a car
  2. Constructive Possession
  3. First Offenders Programs

Marijuana in a car

We see the vast majority of our North Carolina marijuana possession cases when people have drugs in their car or have been smoking at some point in the car.  When an officer pulls over a motorist for any relatively minor violation of the vehicle code and detects the odor of marijuana emanating from a vehicle, probable cause exists for a warrantless search of the vehicle for marijuana.  So if an officer smells marijuana in your car in North Carolina he or she will very likely search your car for drugs without your consent and without a search warrant.  

Constructive Possession

Possession may be actual or constructive. A defendant has actual possession of contraband if it is on his or her person, the defendant is aware of its presence, and either alone or with others has the power and intent to control its disposition or use. Constructive possession exists when the defendant, while not having actual possession, has the intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over the contraband.  We see issues of constrictive possession where the police will search a home or other place and find drugs.  It’s a bit easier for the State of North Carolina to make a case for constructive possession if they find drugs in someone’s room in a shared home or apartment.  It’s more difficult to make a case for constrictive possession when they find drugs in a shared area or a common area in a home or apartment.  When a defendant has exclusive possession of the place where or item in which the drugs are found, such as a home or a vehicle, this ordinarily is sufficient to establish the requisite intent and capability to maintain control and dominion over the contraband required for constructive possession.  So if drugs are found in a closet in the defendant’s home and the defendant is the sole resident of the home that would constitute sufficient evidence of constructive possession to take the issue to the judge or jury.

First Offenders Programs

Many people charged with minor drug crimes may be eligible for a dismissal of the charge and then an expungement through a first offenders or deferral programs.  For many youthful offenders there are programs where they can take drug classes in exchange for a dismissal of the charges.  While a defendant may have a good case the first offenders programs and deferral programs are generally easy to complete and the end result of a dismissal makes taking a case to trial less desirable when a more certain outcome is available.

If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Wake County, North Carolina you should contact a Raleigh Drug Crimes Lawyer.  An criminal defense lawyer can advise you on whether or not you have a good defense to your case and whether a deferral program or first offenders program may be a good option for the specific facts of your case.