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Can I be charged for drug possession if I didn't have any on me?

Drug charges are treated seriously in Texas, with harsh penalties for even seemingly minor infractions. It is important for defendants to fully understand these charges in order to best combat the potential legal consequences of a conviction. Drug possession allegations often cause significant confusion for defendants who were charged even though police did not find any illegal substance on their person at the time of arrest.

Many people are familiar with the popular TV or movie scene of an officer patting down a person, finding an illegal drug somewhere on the suspect's body and then making an arrest. While this can be the springboard for a possession charge, authorities must only demonstrate constructive possession. Constructive possession means that a person must have access to illegal drugs that are not necessarily on them, such as inside of their home or in a vehicle for which they have the keys.

Drug paraphernalia may also be used as evidence when filing possession charges. Bongs, syringes and other drug-related paraphernalia are prohibited under federal law, so the drugs for which they might be used do not need to be present in order to make an arrest. This is also true of certain chemicals which might be common ingredients for manufacturing certain controlled substances.

Charges for drug possession can have far reaching implications, as convictions can potentially preclude individuals from future education, employment or personal development opportunities. Texas defendants are well-advised to begin preparing their criminal defense as early in the proceedings as possible to minimize such impacts. By fully understanding their charges and related evidence, defendants can usually work alongside their respective counsel to obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Overview", Oct. 30, 2017

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