Getting arrested for drug possession is a serious matter. A drug possession conviction can lead to hefty fines as well as jail time. If for some reason, police arrest you on suspicion of possession of drugs, you should remember that there are things that you need to do, and some things to refrain from ever doing for your sake. Here are some of the most important dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you’re arrested for drug possession.

1. Don’t Panic. Stay Calm.

An arrest doesn’t mean that your life is over. The state has the burden of proving that you’ve broken the law. Prosecutors don’t just have to prove it – they have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s quite a high standard. So, don’t panic. The more composed you are, the easier it will be to understand what’s going on and make the best possible decisions.

2. Ask For Your Lawyer, Then Remain Silent.

You have the right to remain silent and you should absolutely exercise that right. However, before you cease all communication with the state, inform the police and prosecutor that you want your lawyer.

You also have the right to be represented by counsel from here-on out. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can help to ensure that your rights are respected and that you’re given the very best shot at beating the charges.

3. A Criminal Defense Attorney Will Walk You Through Your Options

An individual can be charged with drug possession if they are found to have an illicit substance in their possession for personal use, distribution, sale, or another reason. The state of California defines and regulates controlled substances and places them on a schedule:

Schedule I includes opiates, cocaine, and mescaline

Schedule II includes morphine, raw opium, and other narcotics

Schedule III includes anabolic steroids and pentobarbital

Schedule IV includes many prescriptions drugs, such as zolpidem and diazepam

Schedule V includes lesser-controlled prescription medications, such as codeine prescribed in low doses

For the court to find you guilty of drug possession, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

The substance found in your possession is a controlled substance

You knew the drug was a controlled substance

You possessed the controlled substance illegally and unlawfully

You possessed an amount of the controlled substance that you could use

You were aware of the presence of the controlled substance

Many people think drug possession means that the substance is on your person. However, you can get charged with drug possession in three different ways.

Actual possession: The drug is physically on you, such as in a pocket on your clothing.

Constructive possession: The drug is in a place where you can access it readily, such as in your car, home, or gym locker.

Joint possession: When the drug is in a space shared by two parties. If you purchase a controlled substance with someone else, that could also be joint possession.


If you are accused of drug possession, you have the legal right to fight these charges aggressively. In order for you to be convicted, prosecutors will have to prove their claims beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an incredibly high legal standard.

As we noted above, it is also important to avoid providing the authorities with any information or statements to which they are not legally entitled. You should understand and exercise your rights. 

Secure the services of an attorney with plenty of experience in guiding clients through cases like yours. Contacting a knowledgeable legal professional will give you the greatest chance of securing a favorable outcome in your drug possession case.