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220.25 Criminal possession of a controlled substance; presumption

Here’s a great article from ER Trial Lawyers, a premier team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. When discussing terms related to the law, presumption refers to a legal inference. A police officer, based on observations and the presence of evidence, may infer a drug crime has been committed and can perform an arrest. The New York Penal Code § 220.25 addresses “Criminal possession of a controlled substance; presumption.”

The law is not thoroughly ambiguous when it comes to defining how presumption relates to possession of a controlled substance. A clear example of possession would be a person carrying a controlled substance in his/her pocket. When a controlled substance is found in a room and not on the individuals physical person, an individual could still be charged under 220.25 due to the presumption of possession. Furthermore, every person in the room may be charged as well.

Presumption Based on Controlled Substances in an Automobile

If several different people are riding in an automobile and law enforcement discovers drugs under one of the seats, all the people in the car could be charged with possession. Simply put, the presence of a controlled substance in a vehicle – excluding, per the statute, a “public omnibus” vehicle – is enough to presume all knew about and shared possession. Whether this leads to multiple conditions is another matter.

Closer examination of the law reveals the statute is not as broad as it appears and further exclusions apply. Testosterone is a controlled substance and one prescribed to men whose testosterone levels are low. If a vehicle was pulled over and the testosterone is discovered in the original container and proof exists an individual in the car was legally prescribed the drug, no crime has been committed. A crime occurs when black market testosterone in a generic container is discovered in the glove compartment.

When the drug is concealed on someone’s person and not in the vehicle, only that specific person would be charged. Also, a hired driver not involved with the passengers and their unlawful activity is excluded under the statute.

Open View in a Room

The presence of a controlled substance in an open room, as opposed to a public place, combined with evidence that illicit activity such as sale, manufacturing, and more takes place, can lead to all those in the room being charged under this statute. The individuals must be in “close proximity” to the drugs when the controlled substances were discovered.

Again, the statute notes when someone is authorized to possess the controlled substance, isn’t under duress, and the controlled substance remains in the original container, no crime exists. Also, the other people in the room shouldn’t be charged under this statute when the controlled substance is found on someone’s person.

Defenses to the Charges

Illegal search and seizure could lead to the charges being dismissed. Proof of a legitimate possession of a controlled substance might support a “not guilty” defense. The “close proximity” component may be challenged by a savvy criminal defense attorney.

Mounting a strong defense to “criminal possession of a controlled substance; presumption” would be especially important to those who had no idea drugs were in an automobile or involved with controlled substances in any way. Truthfully, anyone and everyone who faces this charge relies heavily on a smart defense from his/her attorney.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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