March 21, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

Under California law, a person is recognized to have “possession” of a tangible object when they have personal charge or control of, or exercise the right of ownership or management over the tangible object.

It is important to understand that possession of a controlled substance in California may be actual or constructive. Constructive possession is not as straightforward as actual possession, but constitutes possession nonetheless.

“Constructive possession” can apply in situations where the controlled substance is not found on the defendant’s person (pockets, jacket, etc). Although there is no actual possession, constructive possession can occur if actual possession of the controlled substance can be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

Issues of constructive possession often arise during police traffic stops where a vehicle is stopped and subsequently searched by law enforcement. If a potentially illegal substance is found under the driver’s seat, the driver is alone in the vehicle, and the vehicle is registered in the driver’s name, there are sufficient grounds to presume constructive possession. Officers will encourage prosecutors to file criminal drug possession charges based on the premise that the driver knew of the substance and had the power to exercise control and dominion over it.

In order to ensure that your rights are accurately and aggressively defended after being charged with drug possession or possession of a controlled substance in Southern California, you should contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense law firm of Wallin & Klarich. Our attorneys have been helping those accused of crimes for more than 30 years. Wallin & Klarich has the legal resources and knowledge to assist you in obtaining a successful outcome. Call Wallin & Klarich today at 888-280-6839 or visit We will be there when you call.

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