It is not uncommon for the elements of a criminal charge to have at least two requirements, with one of those requirements being a physical action or omission and the other being a mental state or intention. For example, when a person is charged with assault, a prosecutor generally must prove that an alleged assailant intended to cause their victim harm through their action of preparing to cause physical contact.
Similarly, a charge of drug possession also has two salient elements, with one being mental and the other physical. The first element in this charge is that the alleged criminal knew that the drug in question was illegal and that they still chose to possess it. Including this mental element forces prosecutors to show that the individuals they have charged with drug crimes did not accidentally or unintentionally come into possession of illegal substances.
Second, a prosecutor must also show that their alleged drug possessor knowingly took control of the substance by either possessing it on their person or having it in a location that was under their control. An individual can face drug possession charges if drugs are found in their backpack, in their car's glovebox, or other places that may be argued to be under the control of the charged individual.
When a person is charged with drug possession the legal road ahead of them can be quite lengthy. Depending on their charges, an individual could be facing incarceration for their alleged actions and other serious penalties. These significant sanctions may compel drug possession defendants to meet with criminal defense attorneys to learn more about defending themselves against their charges.