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Thursday, May 31, 2012

How can I be charged with CPCS 4 when the pills were recovered from under the passenger seat?

Q: How can I be charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree when a bag of 96 pills were recovered from under the passenger seat of a car with three occupants and I was in the driver's seat

A: You can be charged under the "automobile presumption" which can be found in New York Penal Law Section 220.25. It states
 " 1. The presence of a controlled substance in an automobile, other than a public omnibus, is presumptive evidence of knowing possession thereof by each and every person in the automobile at the time such controlled substance was found; except that such presumption does not apply (a) to a duly licensed operator of an automobile who is at the time operating it for hire in the lawful and proper pursuit of his trade, or (b) to any person in the automobile if one of them, having obtained the controlled substance and not being under duress, is authorized to possess it and such controlled substance is in the same container as when he received possession thereof, or (c) when the controlled  substance is concealed upon the person of one of the occupants." 

While this statute allows you to be charged it does not mean that they can prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.  The DA will have an even harder time proving the case against you if the car belonged to someone other  than yourself.  Beyond the issue of "who possessed the drugs", you may also have grounds to challenge the search of the vehicle by the police.

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