Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (UPOCS)

It is basically understood that owning or possessing a controlled substance without justification or permission, can be a crime in Alabama – specifically, unlawful possession of a controlled substance. This crime is typically when an individual is found with marijuana cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycontin or other narcotics.  What some people forget is that prescription medications can also qualify as controlled substances.  So, if you have possession of a prescribed narcotic without a valid prescription or justification for having it, you could be charged will illegal possession.

3 Forms of illegal drug possession

A drug possession charge in Alabama can be more complicated than you think.  There are many nuances that most people are unfamiliar with.  It is not as simple as having drugs in your possession.  So, if you are facing a drug possession charge, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you. One key element that must be shown is possession.  There are 3 ways to analyze this element.

Knowing possession of a controlled substance

In order to be guilty of the crime of unlawful possession a controlled substance, the person must knowingly and intentionally have control of the controlled drug. This means that a prosecutor only needs to show that the accused knew the drugs were present and intended to use or control them. On the other hand, it is not necessary to show that the accused knew it was a controlled substance or that having it was illegal in that particular situation.

Actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance

The term “possession” technically means that a person has personal and physical control over the controlled substance. That “possession” can be actual or constructive, which can mean that the drug is on their person (i.e., in their pocket) or in the trunk of their car or hidden in their apartment.

Shared possession of a controlled substance

Unlawful possession over a controlled substance does not have to belong solely to the accused.  Put another way, you can still be convicted of possessing a controlled substance if it can be shown the accused had at least partial control over the drug. A most common example is when two roommates share an apartment in which the police found the illegal drugs. Yet, more must be shown than merely that the two roommates lived in the same home.  Instead, each defendant must have had control over the drugs or made incriminating statements about them.

If you have questions regarding possession controlled substances, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

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