Can I Get Arrested if a Cop Finds a Joint in a Car Which I Didn’t Know About?
Possession of marijuana in Florida is a crime. The law may have changed in some other parts of the U.S., but it hasn’t here. If you are stopped by a police officer and s/he discovers you are in possession of a quantity of marijuana, it is likely that you will be arrested for possession.
You would have to be pretty naïve not to know that carrying or storing marijuana in your own car is a risk. But what happens if you are in someone else’s car, say a friend of yours, and he / she has stashed some weed on the back seat? Or you give someone a ride in your own car and that person has some marijuana with them. In either case, if a police officer discovers the marijuana in the car, can you be arrested?
There is no easy answer to these sorts of questions. Typically, the crime of possession assumes knowledge of that possession. In other words, if you genuinely did not know that there was marijuana in your car, or in another person’s car you happened to be riding in as a passenger, you are not committing a crime. It’s a bit like walking out of the door of a supermarket or store with an item in your bag that you were not aware of. If a security guy comes running after you and finds the item in your possession, you are going to have a problem explaining that you didn’t know about it and didn’t intend to steal it.
The reaction of the security guy and what he decides to do about it depends on the circumstances and whether he chooses to believe you. It’s the same with a cop who discovers a joint in a car you are in, either your car, or someone else’s. That joint didn’t get there by accident. Someone must have known about it and put it there. If it wasn’t you, who was it? The officer is bound to grill whoever is in the car and it’s possible that the owner of the joint admits to possession or no-one admits to it. If that’s the scenario, then it’s likely that everyone in the car is likely to be under suspicion. Even if the other guy admits that the joint or weed belongs to him, the officer may still be suspicious and decide to find out more down at the nearest police station.
At this point, it’s worth remembering you have rights. If you face arrest, you don’t have to say any more or answer any more questions other than provide your name and address. You will need a good attorney to handle your case and make sure you don’t get charged and convicted for something you didn’t do, i.e. be in possession of marijuana.
What are the police looking for to obtain evidence of possession?
Much of the evidence that a police officer is likely to obtain is circumstantial, but this can still be used against you. For example, the way you behave after the marijuana is discovered could be used as evidence of guilt. Who owns the car, where it is located or where it is being driven to who else is in the car, the relationship between you and these people, whether any of the people in the car have prior convictions for drugs, what they say when questioned, these are all factors that will be taken into consideration by the officer(s) before making a decision to arrest you or not.
Get an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case
If you are arrested for possession in or around Miami, or are under suspicion, call the Law Firm of Albert Quirantes Esq. as soon as possible. You can reach his office at 305-644-1800. The law firm is just two blocks west of the Miami Marlins ball park at 1815 NW 7th St., Miami, FL 33125.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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