Can I be charged with possession of marijuana if I’m a passenger in someone’s car and marijuana is found? What does’possession’ mean under New York’s marijuana laws?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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You can be charged with possession of marijuana in New York if it is found in a car in which you are a passenger, but you have a good defense if it was not found on your person and did not belong to you. Alternatively, a driver of a car with marijuana found inside can be charged with possession in New York, even if the marijuana was not theirs.

Much of this determination rests on what can legally be considered “possession” in the state of New York. Possession in New York, as in most states, can be either physical or constructive. Physical possession is just as it sounds – the marijuana is on your person or clothing. Possessing something constructively, however, is much more difficult to determine, and can often be argued either way. Constructive possession is defined as being able to exercise some degree of control over the object, even if it is not on your person. So, examples might include having the marijuana in your closet, your car trunk, or having someone else carry it under your directions. An experienced New York criminal attorney will be able to analyze the circumstances of your case and help offer possible defenses or challenges to the government’s charge of possession of marijuana.

Follow this link for more information about New York Marijuana Laws and New York Medical Marijuana Laws

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