There is a moment of panic when an officer pulls your friend over while you are in their vehicle. You know that there are drugs in the car, but you might not know your rights in regard to receiving a drug possession charge.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are a passenger in a vehicle with drugs, the most important thing to do is not volunteer unnecessary information to an officer without legal counsel. Beyond that, you should know your lawful rights and what to do if you receive a drug possession charge.
What does the law say about drug possession?
Minnesota statutes state that an individual is guilty of a misdemeanor if they possess or keep drugs in a vehicle that they own or are driving in place of the owner. This applies to areas in which the driver or passengers would be present within the vehicle, including the glove box, but does not apply to the trunk or similar areas. It is ambiguous as to whether or not a passenger can receive a drug possession charge as per this section of the law.
What should I do if I receive a drug charge?
In situations where drugs are present in a communal area of a vehicle, an officer might not be able to reasonably determine the owner of the substance. It is possible that all occupants of the vehicle will receive a drug possession charge. It is important to exercise your right to criminal defense and contest a potentially wrongful charge.
Drug possession charges can come with far-reaching consequences. It is possible to receive a charge even as a passenger, but the option exists to defend your position.