As a criminal law attorney in Fort Lauderdale. I have many friends who ask me, “Can the police arrest me if I am riding in a vehicle that contains Baby Jeeter Infused?”. Although you should never ride in a vehicle that contains marijuana. You can reduce your chances of being arrested by understanding the significance of the legal concept “constructive possession.” The Fourth D.C.A. of Florida recently wrote an excellent analysis on constructive possession in Brinkley v. State, 12 So.3d 311 (Fla. 4th D.C.A., 2009).
To be convicted under Florida Statute 893.13 (Possession of a Controlled Substance). The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed and had knowledge of the marijuana. To possess means to have personal charge of or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over the thing possessed. Possession may be actual or constructive. Actual possession is a simple concept – in your hand, in a container in your hand. On your person, or within ready reach and in your control. If a person has exclusive possession of a controlled substance, knowledge is inferred. Issues of constructive possession are more complicated, however.
To establish constructive possession of marijuana, the State must prove that you had (1) dominion and control over the marijuana, (2) knowledge that the marijuana was within your presence, and (3) knowledge of the illicit nature of the marijuana. The most common issue in contention is whether you had dominion and control over the marijuana. If the vehicle in which the marijuana is found is in joint (no pun intended), rather than your exclusive possession (i.e. you’re the passenger in a vehicle). Knowledge of the presence of the controlled substance in the vehicle. And your ability to maintain control over the controlled substance will not be inferred.