Unfortunately, what a person thinks should be illegal has no bearing on what is actually illegal. And sometimes, what people see as common sense is too simplistic for the vast and confusing web of laws that exist on both the State and Federal levels. For example, one would logically assume that to receive a charge for the possession of illegal drugs, one would actually need to be in possession of those drugs. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (The Texas Supreme Court for Criminal Law) has recently ruled that this is not the case.
In Blackman v. State, 2011 WL 1376732 (Tx. Crim. App. 2011), a person was arrested, tried and convicted of the offense of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The defendant in question was riding in the passenger seat of a car in which the drugs in question were discovered on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat. The Court of Criminal Appeals stated ANY rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the Court was stating that any jury of reasonable people would assume that by riding in the car, the defendant knew and most likely handled the drugs at some point. As a result of this ruling, ANY person who places themselves in the vicinity of illegal drugs places themselves in a position to be charged with possession of those drugs.
Is this common sense? How often when you get into someone else’s car do you check under the seat to see if they hide their drugs there? When was the last time when you looked under the seats of your car to see what was under there? What one may think is common sense DOES NOT MATTER with regards to the laws on the books and courts’ interpetations of those laws.
The Bottom Line: If you put yourself into a situation where there are drugs around, know that you too can be charged with possession of those drugs, even if they aren’t yours, they aren’t in your control and even if you had no idea there were drugs in the immediate area. Be careful where you go and who you associate with.
If you, a friend or loved one has been arrested for drug possession, or any other criminal offense, call our offices immediately.