Can I be charged with possession with intent if I had no drugs on me?

Attorney DelSignore discuses how the police will show that you intended to distribute the drugs you had on you at the time of your arrest

A common defense in any Massachusetts drug crime is that the Commonwealth cannot prove that the individual possessed illegal narcotics. Possession under the law can be both actual and constructive. This can be confusing because often a police officer will charge an individual with a possessory crime, such as Possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, when the person did not actually possess any illegal drugs. This can occur when drugs are present during a police executed search warrant, this occurs sometimes in colleges and to people who happen to be visiting someone who is a target of a drug investigation.

Understanding Possession under Massachusetts drug laws:

  • Possession can be Actual or Constructive:
  • Actual possession is when you have drugs on your person, such as in your pocket when searched.

Constructive possession, means that you do not have drugs physically on your person but have the ability to exercise custody or control over the narcotics. Narcotics can be constructively possessed by several individuals. In a constructive possession case, the Commonwealth must prove that you had the ability to exercise dominion and control over the narcotics.

  • How does the Commonwealth establish constructive possession?


Often this is proven by showing that your personal property is in close physical proximity to the illegal narcotics. The Commonwealth will rely on circumstantial evidence to prove a constructive possession case.
Constructive possession cases arise in a search of a house or car.

  • Drug Raids in a home:
When a house is searched for drugs and drugs are found, a common defense is that the person charged does not possess the narcotics. The individual arrested may not be the target of the warrant strengthening the argument that there is no connection to the residence.
Common defenses include:
Being a house guest
Merely being present
A criminal defense lawyer would have to present evidence showing that the person charged has little connection to the residence searched.
  • Constructive possession in a Car Stop:
Constructive possession arguments can also arise in the case of a car stop, where multiple individuals are found in a car containing illegal drugs.

If you are charged with intent to distribute and were merely present, in the wrong place at the wrong time and have no connection to the residence, you likely have a strong defense of lack of possession. You can call 781-686-5924 to discuss your case.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him
★★★★★
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
★★★★★
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
★★★★★
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
★★★★★
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(508) 455-4755(781) 686-5924