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Can the Authorities Arrest Me If I’M Riding in a Vehicle That Contains Marijuana?


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As a criminal legislation lawyer in Ft Lauderdale, I have numerous friends that ask me, “Can the authorities jail me if I am riding in a car that contains marijuana?” Although you need to never ride in a lorry that contains cannabis, you can decrease your possibilities of being jailed by recognizing the value of the lawful principle “constructive belongings.” The 4th D.C.A. of Florida just recently wrote an outstanding analysis on constructive possession in Brinkley v. State, 12 So.3 d 311 (Fla. 4th D.C.A., 2009).

To be convicted under Florida Law 893.13 (Belongings of an Abused Substance), the State has to verify beyond a sensible doubt that you had and had knowledge of the marijuana. To possess methods to have individual cost of or work out the right of possession, management, or control over things had. Possession might be real or positive. Actual possession is an easy idea – in your hand, in a container in your hand, on your person, or within prepared reach and in your control. If a person has exclusive belongings of an illegal drug, expertise is presumed. Problems of useful property are more complicated, nonetheless.

To establish constructive property of cannabis, the State has to verify that you had (1) dominion as well as control over the marijuana, (2) knowledge that the cannabis was within your visibility, and (3) knowledge of the illicit nature of the cannabis. One of the most common issue in contention is whether you had dominion and also control over the marijuana. If the car in which the marijuana is found is in joint (no pun meant), instead of your special property (i.e. you’re the guest in a car), knowledge of the visibility of the abused substance in the vehicle as well as your ability to keep control over the dangerous drug will certainly not be presumed.

In nonprofessional’s terms, if you were silly sufficient to be caught riding in a car where a bag of cannabis was put in simple sight in the facility console, the State would still have to confirm that you had “control” over the marijuana, as well as not just “expertise” of the marijuana. Although not especially specified, control is the capability to take, utilize, possess, (or smoke) the marijuana without obtaining permission from somebody else. Mere proximity to the marijuana is not nearly enough to develop control when the marijuana is not in your exclusive control. Belongings might be joint (two or even more individuals may exercise control of the cannabis) but only if both people have control over the cannabis.

To show dominion and also control, the police will have to observe you having, hiding, or breathing in the cannabis or if you make any type of incriminating declarations admitting possession of the cannabis. Notwithstanding the previously mentioned reasons, the cops can not impute the possession of the cannabis to you simply because you remain in a vehicle that contains marijuana. As a result, never make any incriminating declarations to the authorities with regards to ownership of the cannabis. Regardless of what the police promise you (i.e. we will not jail you if you admit ownership), do not admit possession of the cannabis. Likewise, try to continue to be calm – do not make any type of furtive or fast movements that would certainly lead the authorities that you are nervous or trying to hide the marijuana. Additionally, do not smoke the marijuana in the automobile. It is usually challenging to reject ownership when you and also the car stink of marijuana.

On an apart, in case you still pick to ride in an automobile which has cannabis, make sure the marijuana is hidden (outside of plain sight), ideally in the trunk or locked compartment. At a minimum, do not leave the cannabis in simple sight in the center console or ashtray. Furthermore, do not maintain any stuff (pipe, rolling documents, etc) on your person.

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