Police officers frequently ask people to search their vehicles during traffic stops. Many drivers, sure that they have not broken the law, consent to a search, only to regret that decision later.
You don’t always know everything that’s in the car you drive. If you bought a used vehicle, you don’t know that the previous driver didn’t use the spare tire well in the trunk to smuggle drugs across state lines. Even if you bought the vehicle new, you don’t know what a passenger in your vehicle may have left behind in it.
Prohibited drugs like marijuana or heroin left in your vehicle by someone could cause you trouble if police find the substances while searching your vehicle. Can they charge you for drugs that you didn’t know were there?
The state will have to convince a jury that you knew the drugs were there
Vehicles have hiding spaces that make it possible for someone to own them without knowing everything inside them. There is plausible deniability for a driver or owner of a vehicle when police find drugs somewhere in the vehicle but not in their immediate possession.
Contraband substances in your pocket, in your purse or hidden somewhere on your body will be hard to deny ownership of after the police find them. However, you may have had no way of knowing that someone left a small baggie of prescription drugs under the rear passenger seat of your vehicle. You also have no way of knowing what previous owners may have left in the vehicle.
If you deny that you knew the drugs were there, prosecutors will likely try to prove that you were aware of them and had control over them to convict you in court.
Pleading guilty could reduce your opportunities in life
Facing frightening charges over items you didn’t even know existed might make you feel panicked. Many people facing charges will consider pleading guilty despite knowing they are innocent. A guilty plea to a drug offense will limit everything from what schools you can attend and what jobs you can have to the places you can live as a renter.
Fighting back against possession charges is possible even if you don’t have an immediate explanation for why police found what they did in your vehicle. Carefully going over the evidence and the circumstances that led to your arrest will give you a better idea about possibilities for defending yourself.