Why MRD Lawyers study Springfield Drug Possession Case Law:

As a leading criminal defense attorney in Springfield, MO, The Law Offices of Matthew | Russell | Dempsey regularly review criminal defense case law in the Springfield and Greene County areas. As former Greene County prosecutors, we understand both sides of a criminal defense and we review current cases in the same manner a pro football coach reviews game film. We keep on top of our game!

Wait a second, those drugs belong to my roommate!

State v. “Name withheld for Privacy”  – Decided March 30, 2015

What happens if your roommate has drugs, but they are not yours? Well, the Courts deal with that on a routine basis. What if there are multiple people living in an apartment or visitors coming over to a party and the cops show up. Which person is in possession of the controlled substances? Let’s take a look at a recent case to see how the Courts deal with this.

On February 6, 2013, Officers show up to a Southwest Missouri home in response to a 911 “hang up” call. When Officers are investigating the first bedroom in the home, they find the defendant and see a black velvet pouch with drawstrings. Ultimately, the Officers end up arresting the defendant who was a resident of the home. That resident asked to get his belongings from a different, second bedroom in the house. He stated that everything in the second bedroom belonged to him. Officers found no drugs on his person or in the second bedroom.

During the investigation, officers gained consent to search from another resident of the home. During the search of the home they found:

    • Paraphernalia;
    • An electronic scale;
    • A plastic baggie containing 8 grams of Methamphetamine; and
    • Numerous small empty plastic baggies.

The Defendant claimed that there was not sufficient evidence that those items belonged to him.

The Court stated that “to show that a person unlawfully possessed a controlled substance the State must demonstrate that the person, with knowledge of the presence and nature of the substance, had actual or constructive possession of it. Both knowledge and possession may be proven by circumstantial evidence, which need not be conclusive of guilt nor show the impossibility of innocence.”

When several people are in a house, or have “joint control” of a house, the State must produce some other sort of evidence to show that the accused is connected to the controlled substance.

In this case, the State presented the following evidence to prove that connection:

    • Only two people in the house when officers respond;
    • Photographs of the two people in the house (showing they both lived there);
    • Defendant was sitting near the drugs (within feet) when officers entered the room;
    • Drugs were “within the Defendant’s easy access and control.”
    • A knife and cell phone believed to be the Defendant’s were next to the drugs;
    • Defendant had a large amount of money on his person when taken into custody.

The Court concluded that this evidence and the reasonable inferences from it, suggest the Defendant was staying in the house where he routine access and control over the premises where the drugs were found and thus, could be charged and convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

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If you or a loved one are charged with possession of a controlled substance, contact experienced criminal defense attorneys to talk about your options. In cases like these, experienced criminal defense attorneys will work with you to develop a criminal defense strategy. A felony drug possession is a serious, life-altering charge and charges like these need the best criminal defense strategy. MRD Lawyers have a combined 30 years as Greene County attorneys and understand how to battle a complicated felony charge.

If you want an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys by your side, MRD Lawyers is here for you. Contact our team on our website or give us a call at (417) 882-2522.

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