Drug Possession Law and Legal Definition

Drug possession laws are governed by federal and state laws, which vary by state. Generally, it requires that the offender knowingly and intentionally possess a scheduled drug without a valid prescription in a quantity usable for consumption or sale. The government must prove that the offender knew the drug was a controlled substance and that he or she had either actual possession of it or other control over it, either alone or with another person. Possession may also consist of constructive possession, which involves property which is not immediately held, but which one has the right to hold and access to, such a key to a locker. Possession is defined under the common law (judge made law) as being either knows of something's presence and having physical control of it (actual possession), or having the power and intention to control it (constructive possession).

Laws also exist to prohibit the possession of certain chemicals used in drug cultivation and manufacturing, as well as certain items related to drug use, such as crack pipes or syringes. Penalties for drug possession laws vary according to drug type, amount, and geographic area of the offense. Possession of small amounts of a drug is typically charged as "simple" possession, while possession of large amounts may result in a charge "possession with intent to distribute." Local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area.

The following is an example of a local law governing drug possession:

"Possession shall mean having the controlled substance on one's person or in constructive possession including, but not limited to, constructive possession by that owner of a motor vehicle or by that driver of a motor vehicle if the owner is not present who keeps or allows to be kept in the motor vehicle a controlled substance."