In Virginia, possession of marijuana need not be always be exclusive. Meaning, more than one person can possess it at a time. For a conviction, the Commonwealth must prove that any suspect was simply aware of the “nature and character” of the drug and exercised “dominion and control” over it. This is proved by circumstantial evidence such as proximity (or closeness) to the marijuana, statements made by a suspect admitting knowledge and control, and other factors such behaving in a manner that would suggest guilt.
What that means is that if you were wrongfully charged, you must let your defense counsel know the entire facts so that he can fully advise you about the strength or weakness of the Commonwealth’s case. As always, you must also let the attorney know of how you came into contact with law enforcement so that the attorney can review any potential constitutional violations that may be argued in court.
And for those not charged, but who happen to find themselves near illegal drugs, you should remove yourself from the situation. Because, wrongfully or not, if you found by law enforcement and near drugs, you should expect to be charged. Even if you are able to fight it in court, that still means spending the time, money, and stress going to court.
If have more questions, please reach out to BenGlassLaw at (703)584-7277.