Possession of marijuana for sale – physical, constructive and joint possession

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Possession of marijuana for sale – physical, constructive and joint possession

Possession of marijuana for sale, in California, is a felony that carries serious penalties. While there are a number of defenses that are applicable to this crime, only a skilled criminal defense lawyer who specializes in California drug defense will be prepared and qualified to present them in an effective manner.

Possession of marijuana for sale has three “elements” or facts that must be proven to convict the accused. The accused must (1) possess the marijuana, (2) have the intent to sell the marijuana and (3) have knowledge of both its presence and illegal character. “Possession” in and of itself is a gray area, as there are several types of possession that law enforcement and the prosecution can use to prove this offense. The accused can have physical (otherwise known as actual) possession, constructive possession or joint possession of the drug and any of these will be sufficient to prove the accused guilty. This is one of the reasons why an experienced criminal attorney who regularly practices this area of law is so invaluable, as he or she knows how to rebut this issue.

Physical or actual possession means that the accused individual knowingly exercised direct physical control over the drug – that he or she actually had the marijuana on his or her person. This type of possession is probably the most difficult to defend, as people tend to know what items they carry with them. However, medical marijuana use, temporary possession for disposal and illegal search and seizure are all defenses that may be applicable to this type of possession.

Constructive possession refers to situations where the accused individual didn’t have actual or physical control over the drug but instead knowingly exercised control over or had the right to control the marijuana either directly or through another person or persons. Constructive possession, along with physical and joint possession, may be proven through circumstantial evidence (that is, evidence that isn’t directly observed but is inferred from events or circumstances that surround it). A specific example demonstrating constructive possession (though not specific to a possession for sale case) lies in a case where an individual was found to have exercised control over marijuana because he was found on a remote parcel of land where marijuana plants were being grown, where there was evidence that the plants had been cared for on a regular basis and where the owner of the property had been hospitalized during the time of the arrest. Lack of knowledge, entrapment and the above defenses are most likely to be argued when constructive possession is alleged.

Joint possession will apply in situations where two or more people may be guilty of possessing marijuana with the intent to sell it. Joint control or possession will be inferred under a variety of circumstances. An example includes a case where the defendant was found barefoot in the codefendant’s house where drugs were found, that his suit and shoes were found in a closet and that there were traces of marijuana in his shirt and pants pockets. This circumstantial evidence was enough to support the belief that he and the codefendant jointly occupied the premises and had knowledge of the presence of marijuana and of its narcotic character, that they both had access to the home and that they shared joint control of the home. Lack of knowledge, medical marijuana use, temporary possession for disposal and illegal search and seizure will be the defenses most likely to apply to joint possession.

The outstanding attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm have mastered these defenses, as well as a variety of others, that are applicable to “possession of marijuana for sale” offenses. They excel in articulating them to judges and jurors in ways that successfully tell their client’s side of the story. With law offices in Los Angeles and throughout the state, they are easily accessible for anyone in need of an exceptional California drug defense attorney. For the most trusted legal advice and unparalleled representation, contact them today for a free consultation.