Harrison & Smyth, P.A.

Can A Passenger Be Charged If Drugs Are Discovered In The Vehicle?


Yes. If the police are conducting a lawful search of the vehicle and find drugs in an area where the passenger was sitting or had access or control over the area where the drugs are located, the passenger can be charged with possession of drugs. This is based upon the doctrine of constructive possession which occurs when it is determined the drugs are yours because of where they are found, your proximity to where they are found and who has access to the area where the drugs were found. Of course, if the police also find a passenger is in actual possession of drugs the passenger can be charged.

What Are The Penalties Associated With Drug Related Convictions In Idaho?

For a Schedule 1 Narcotic and also a Schedule 2 controlled substance, it is a felony which can be punishable by up to 7 years in prison or a fine of $15,000 or both. If you possess LSD, it can be an incarceration of up to 3 years with a fine of $5000 or both. If you possess more than 3 ounces of marijuana, that is a felony which is punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 5 years, a fine of $10,000 or both.

If you are manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance the penalties are :

(A) A controlled substance classified in schedule I which is a narcotic drug or a controlled substance classified in schedule II, except as provided for in section 37-2732B(a)(3), Idaho Code, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be imprisoned for a term of years not to exceed life imprisonment, or fined not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or both;

(B) Any other controlled substance which is a nonnarcotic drug classified in schedule I, or a controlled substance classified in schedule III, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years, fined not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), or both;

(C) A substance classified in schedule IV, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than three (3) years, fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both;

(D) A substance classified in schedules V and VI, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.

If you are found in possession of paraphernalia, it’s a misdemeanor that they can incarcerate you for up to one year or a fine of $1000. With respect to further offenses, if you have are on your third conviction you are considered a habitual offender and your penalties can be enhanced by a period of incarceration of 5 years to life.

Are There Alternative Programs In Idaho For Drug Offenders?

Yes. There is a Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Wood Pilot Project, Young Adult Court, Family Court, and Domestic Violence Court. The Court looks at your LSI which is your Level of Service Inventory to determine your likelihood to commit crimes in the future. They consider your criminal history, education, employment, finances, family, living accommodations, leisure and recreational activities, who your friends are, your alcohol and drug problems, any emotional or personal problems as well as your attitude and whether you are oriented towards treatment or anti-social behaviors. All those factors together make up your LSI score. You also get a GAIN evaluation which determines what level of treatment you need for your drug or alcohol issues.

For the high risk and high needs there are different specialty courts. There are felony and misdemeanor drug courts. Typically you need a level 2 treatment in order to qualify for drug court. There is also felony and misdemeanor mental health court. Typically those are for serious and persistent mental illness. Usually it’s an axis 1 personality disorder such as bipolar, schizo-effective, schizophrenia or major depression. Usually when they address axis 1 then they have to address the axis 2 which is dealing with the anti-social borderline opposition defiant. Another specialty court is the Wood Pilot project where they also address drug and mental health issues.

We have a Young Adult Court commonly called YAC that is for those aged 18 to 24 years old that present a high risk and high need. We also have a domestic violence court and a family court. Oftentimes drugs lead you to neglect your family and those you love and so these courts help address those issues. All of them are voluntary. A person has to want to engage in treatment and to begin to make those changes in order to be accepted into any of these courts and our office can help determine which one might be good as well as coordinate with probation in order to determine the best one for your situation.

How Often Can You get Drug Charges Dropped Dismissed Or Reduced?

This depends a lot on the amount of drugs that have been found, how long you’ve been involved in drugs, if there are any prior charges as well as your willingness to come forward with what has occurred. If the individual is willing to help law enforcement, they can sign a cooperative agreement and do some controlled buys. This would reduce the charges or keep a person from going to prison where they might have gone otherwise. The sooner that we are able to identify the problem and start making long term changes, the better it is for the person, his family and also for the individual at sentencing.

Additional Information About Drug Charges In Idaho

It’s unlawful for a person to be present at the premises where he knows illegal controlled substances are being manufactured or cultivated and are being helped to distribute. That is a misdemeanor which can carry a fine of up to $300 and not more than 90 days in the county jail. So don’t hang out with those using drugs.

For more information on Passengers Arrested In a Vehicle, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (208) 552-1165 today.

HARRISON & SMYTH, P.A.

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