Carpooling is an adult decision. You choose to reduce your personal expenses or environmental impact by sharing transportation responsibilities with someone who works or lives near you. Some people may carpool with multiple individuals who work in the same building or live in the same neighborhood as they do.
Carpooling generally offers mutual benefits, as everyone shares the responsibility for covering transportation costs and the work of driving. However, carpooling can also sometimes lead to criminal charges. How might carpooling with your neighbors or coworkers cause drug charges?
The police may hold you responsible for what they find in your car
When the police find you in possession of a drug, they will likely arrest you and charge you with a crime. Usually, it is quite clear that a person walking around with a drug in their pocket or purse knows about the drug and has control over it.
Vehicles are another story. Everyone who comes in and out of your vehicle could potentially drop something or even leave something behind intentionally because they realize they can’t take it into your work. A baggie with a few prescription pills, a straw with cocaine or meth residue or even a joint could wind up jammed in the crevice of your back seat or under your floor mats.
Using claims of constructive possession may allow police and prosecutors to bring charges against you for something left behind in your vehicle by someone in your carpool. They will have to show you had knowledge of the drug’s presence and control over it.
Understanding how you leave yourself vulnerable to drug charges can help you better protect yourself.