Drugs Found at Home – Who Gets Charged?

if drugs are found in a house who is responsible

Imagine police knocking at your door, claiming to have discovered drugs on the property. Before you know it, an officer states, “You’re under arrest for possession.” Panic sets in. How could this happen if the drugs don’t belong to you?

The fact is — simply living where drugs are located or having them among jointly owned belongings may legally qualify as criminal drug possession based on state statutes.

In this blog, we break down the critical question – if illegal drugs are found at your Colorado home, who faces the real risk of being charged? Going beyond just the person holding the bag, the reality is that anyone exercising direct control or ownership of the space could end up dealing with constructive possession allegations.

Steady yourself and focus because legal responsibility has nuances. Let’s break things down to see how innocents get caught in possession charges—and how to fight back.

Defining Drug Possession in Colorado

Actual possession means drugs directly on your person. However, you need not physically hold drugs to face arrest. Under “constructive possession” laws, if you control locations containing drugs or vehicles carrying them, it’s legally viewed the same.

Mere presence around controlled substances alone rarely incurs charges, though. To convict you, prosecutors must establish:

  • that you had control over the drug
  • that you knew about the drug
  • that you knew it was an illegal drug
  • that you had enough of the drug to use.

Unlike ownership, possession is all about power—if at any time you could have reached the drugs or known they awaited retrieval, it becomes trickier, denying control.

Pinning Responsibility in Shared Spaces

When substances turn up in homes or cars with multiple people, police must determine wilfulness beyond proximity.

Does quantity suggest personal use or distribution? Does packaging indicate trafficking? Do residents have access to all areas or just their private spaces?

Courts scrutinize if defendants actively or constructively possessed contraband versus happening upon forgotten stash.

Colorado law enforcement may review precise locations discovered and defendants’ control therein. Drugs in your bedroom dresser clearly implicate while a stray bag in the garage shared with roommates muddies liability. Videos, fingerprints, statements, and tips help agencies trace culpability in murky territory.

What About Drugs Found in Rental Properties?

If tenants rent separate units in a building owned by a landlord, the tenants are only responsible for their own units unless there is clear evidence they worked together to commit a crime.

Generally, renters shoulder blame for drugs inside their apartments, while landlords become more exposed to charges involving common areas like lobbies or laundry rooms.

However, addicts’ unpredictable behavior leaves owners vulnerable regardless. Tenants may hide contraband anywhere from hallway corners to building premises. Our defense attorneys help protect landlords and innocent tenants from unwarranted charges in these complex situations involving drug possession.

Legal Defenses for Colorado Drug Possession Charges

Colorado law permits several defenses when convincing authorities you neither possessed nor knew about drugs on your premises. Locked rooms you don’t access, short-term guests slipping in quickly to leave items, or children hiding experimentation from parents provide common shields.

But don’t assume innocence will prevail alone. Assert these defenses intelligently under counsel’s guidance.

Lack of Awareness

Prosecutors must establish knowledge of contraband presence beyond a reasonable doubt. If illegal substances exist in your home or vehicle, possession charges prove defective.

Strategies include highlighting a lack of historical drug use, submitting affidavits from housemates that items were concealed without your knowledge, or records demonstrating extended travel periods establishing absence during the alleged possession timeframe. Any evidence sowing seeds of doubt can help.

No Control or Intent

We also argue certain situations demonstrate that accused parties lacked meaningful control, rendering possession charges invalid:

  • Drugs discovered in common spaces accessible by the public or other residents
  • Items found inside someone else’s locked private room
  • Previously undisclosed hideaways like false panels exceeding accessibility
  • Secure containers with separate ownership and individualized access

Illegal Search and Seizure

The Constitution protects against illegal police searches. Any charges based on illegal searches can be thrown out by the court. The Fourth Amendment requires police to demonstrate probable cause and obtain warrants before searching property or seizing evidence. If officers fail to follow proper procedures when gathering evidence, our lawyers can file motions to suppress that evidence, completely halting its use in court.

With a thorough understanding of Colorado drug possession laws, we build robust counter strategies dismantling the prosecution’s case piece by piece.

Seeking Legal Guidance from Top-Rated Drug Crimes Attorney

Given varying state laws and scenarios, determining responsibility proves complex. What if you discover contraband and call the police to collect it? Does intent to turn it in protect you? Different courts rule differently.

Our attorneys can argue a lack of control or knowledge to show innocence. We help clients avoid charges outright or mitigate consequences if wrongly accused. Speaking with police without guidance rarely helps – false steps get memorialized, damaging your position.

When questions arise around drug possession responsibility, don’t leave freedom to chance. Our top-rated Colorado criminal lawyers bring decades of combined courtroom experience to protect our neighbors. We dig relentlessly to uncover facts while interrogating charges against you.

Contact Right Law Group for a united defense.

Author Bio

alexis austin

Alexis Austin is the CEO and Managing Partner of Right Law Group, a Colorado Springs criminal defense law firm she founded in 2018. With almost a decade of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Alexis received her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver — Sturm College of Law and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named among the “Top 40 Under 40” in 2018 by The National Trial Lawyers and featured in Authority Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” series.

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