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In Indiana Constructive Possession of Marijuana Requires More Than Presence of Marijuana in Home

Criminal charges for possession of marijuana in Indiana can be based on either actual or constructive possession of marijuana. When marijuana is found in a person’s home, a resident can be found in constructive possession of marijuana when the State proves that the defendant had both the intent, and the capability, to maintain dominion and control over the marijuana. However, the presence of marijuana in someone's home, by itself, is not enough for the State to prove constructive possession.

If marijuana is found during a search of a house or apartment where multiple people live, the State still must prove actual or constructive possession of the marijuana to convict one of the residents of a crime. This is a common situation when college students are living together and one or more of the roommates has marijuana in the home. In the absence of proof that a respective resident intended to control the marijuana, a conviction cannot be sustained for possession of marijuana.

Relevant evidence of the intent to control marijuana can include: (1) incriminating statements made by a defendant; (2) attempted flight or furtive gestures; (3) evidence of manufacturing drugs; (4) proximity of marijuana to the defendant; (5) location of marijuana within the defendant’s plain view; and (6) the mingling of marijuana or contraband with other items owned by the defendant. You should never consent to a search of your home or give statements to police without a lawyer present. If police obtain a search warrant to search your residence, you should remain silent and not make any incriminating statements. If you avoid making incrimination statements, there may be insufficient evidence to convict you of possession of marijuana, even if marijuana is found in your home.

Police are trained at interrogating people and obtaining confessions. In marijuana cases, police often threaten that someone must confess or they will go to jail. If you are suspected or accused of having marijuana in your home, you should never give a statement to police without an experienced criminal attorney present. You may have a valid defense to a charge of constructive possession of marijuana.

Gibson Law Office has aggressive Fort Wayne and Lafayette criminal attorneys. If you are accused of constructive possession of marijuana, call us for a free initial consultation.