Virginia Court of Appeals Decision on Marijuana- Constructive Possession and Car Ownership

The Virginia Court of Appeals recently ruled in Lewis v. Commonwealth of Virginia that the evidence was insufficient to convict defendant of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, when the drug was found in the locked glove compartment of defendant’s vehicle and he was not in the car at the time of the stop. The Court ruled that the state did not carry its burden to prove that the defendant exercised dominion and control over the marijuana in the glove compartment and that he was aware of the presence and character of the substance. The Defendant made no statements admitting the marijuana was in the car. The theory of constructive possession therefore did not apply to the defendant and the felony charges were dismissed.

The case was decided on April 26, 2011.

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