Legal Parameters of Drug Violations: Establishing Possession

Legal Parameters of Drug Violations Establishing Possession
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-06-25
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Legal Parameters of Drug Violations: Establishing Possession
Unit 2 Transcript: Legal Parameters of Drug Violations: Establishing Possession
Unit 3 Workbook: Legal Parameters of Drug Violations: Establishing Possession
Unit 4 Recording: Legal Parameters of Drug Violations: Establishing Possession

Drug possession laws vary from state to state. It is critical to be wary of when establishing drug possession violations. This webinar covers how to prove drug possession including legal guidelines, case law, precedents and considerations, investigative tactics, as well as possible defense.

Leading the discussion is Dr. Jeff Fox. He has 27 years in the field of criminal justice. He’s served in the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and as a military policeman in the US Army.

Specifics he covered in his presentation include:

  • The elements of crime and the specific ones related to establishing intent in drug violations.
  • The concept of Totality of Circumstances which looks at the whole picture, including suspect vulnerabilities and interrogation factors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The limit of police authority as it relates to the legal standard of proof.
  • The importance of experience and training to increase credibility when proving drug possession in court.
  • Defining possession and its two types – actual or constructive.
  • The two main legal categories of drug possession, and the basis of differentiating one from another based on quantity and paraphernalia present.
  • What is considered drug paraphernalia and the drug classification based on federal and state laws.
  • The factors of knowledge and dominion and control that must be established to prove constructive possession
  • The components establish knowledge of the controlled substance’s whereabouts and to prove the ability to maintain dominion and control.
  • A rundown of incriminating facts or circumstances to strengthen the case for constructive possession.
  • Common defense arguments when it comes to drug possession cases.
  • Investigative and patrol tactics and tools worth employing during a stop, interview, and investigation and how these help build a robust drug possession case.
    • The importance of interviewing subjects separately.
    • Clever questions and verbiage to leverage during interrogations.
    • The value and limitations of utilizing K-9 for drug search.
    • Locard’s Exchange Principle which alludes to the value of latent fingerprint.
    • Understanding how long drugs stay in the body.
  • Case examples were provided to demonstrate:
    • An arrest Jeff made by approaching a group without having to do a traffic stop.
    • Complications when proving ownership of legalized marijuana found in a common area of a property.
    • Overcoming claims that marijuana is for medicinal purposes.
    • Incriminating facts that can be the basis for establishing constructive possession.
    • Practicing caution when dealing with asset forfeiture, K-9 searches, and tainted money
    • How traffic stops can be used as a legal basis for a stop.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Drug paraphernalia observed by a probation officer in a client’s home.
  • Applicable jurisdiction when it comes to drug possession cases.
  • The concept of Locard’s Exchange Principle.


Audience Comments

  • “The presenter got into the technicalities which was great. I’m glad he mentioned that all kinds of populations will benefit from this! I am the missing persons specialist. I always have parents ask me, “How come you can’t arrest?” the person who was with a runaway because they had drugs around them? Thank you!”
  • “Dr. Fox does great trainings.”
  • “The wealth of knowledge was impressive. The information presented really stresses the fine line LEOs face on the job.
  • Well orchestrated and informative. Thank you.”
  • “One of the takeaways for me was how to build a stronger case by using the ” what if ” questioning method to get a suspect to divulge enough information that would implicate them in having knowledge, having used, and/or having been in possession of illegal substances, drug paraphernalia, or weapons. This type of questioning can be used in almost any situation which I find to be very beneficial.”
  • “Very much appreciated Dr. Fox’s relating of personal experiences tied in with the law and case law. Excellent!”


Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Legal Parameters of Drug Violations. Q&A with Dr. Jeff Fox
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