Where Does Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law Come from?

Possession is nine-tenths of the law is a common expression, especially in criminal cases, but it is not an actual legal principle. It was first used in property ownership disputes, implying that the person currently occupying and using the property has ownership rights. Possession satisfied nine of the eleven points that constituted proof of ownership.

Today, the saying applies to criminal possession charges such as minor possession, drugs, and weapons. If you’re facing illegal possession charges, the prosecutor may use the possession is nine-tenths of the law expression against you. Skilled criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs explain how the term works in various cases and whether it has any legal merit.

Defining Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law

The phrase means that when someone physically possesses something, there is a stronger legal claim that it belongs to them than anyone else. In other words, custody presumes ownership. The phrase is used in reference to being caught committing a crime. For example, if the police arrest you for possessing drugs, they might say, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

It means you have a 9-out-of-10 chance of being accused and convicted of a drug crime. With the high stakes, you shouldn’t go to trial alone. Defending yourself against drug possession charges can be challenging. So, hire aggressive Colorado Springs drug crime lawyers to help you fight the charges.

Does Possession Mean Ownership?

Just because you possess something doesn’t mean you own it, but the general assumption is that someone in possession is most likely the owner. For example, if you borrow a friend’s car, you’ll be in its possession, but that doesn’t transfer the car’s ownership to you.

Possession laws are complex, even for attorneys and judges. The burden of proof lies with prosecutors pressing charges against you for illegal possession. Skilled drug crime attorneys in Colorado Springs can defend you against the charges.

What Are the Different Types of Possession Under Possession is Nine-Tenths of Law?

Possession can have various meanings, depending on how and when it is. The first type is actual possession, which is when a person is found to have physical custody or control of something. For example, when you have clothes or shoes on, you actually possess the items.

Constructive Possession

This type of possession is common in criminal cases to expand the meaning of possession, which may include items not in the actual physical custody of the possessor. Constructive possession implies that a person has the knowledge of and ability to control an object, even if not physically in contact with the object.

Criminal Possession

Federal and state laws make possessing many dangerous and undesirable items, such as controlled substances, certain types of weapons, narcotics, and stolen property, illegal. Criminal possession gives law enforcement officers and prosecutors considerable freedom to enforce arrests and convictions without proving the use of the items in question.

Joint Possession

Joint possession implies two or more people’s shared control of an item. For example, if drugs are found in your house where you live with your significant other, you both can be held responsible and be charged with joint possession.

Possession and Intent

Drug-related charges often have possession and intent as significant focal points. For example, most people accused of possessing controlled substances also face charges for the intent to sell or distribute them, which is a significant offense, especially if minors are involved.

Conscious Possession

Possession charges in criminal cases may also entail conscious possession that requires an individual to be aware that the items in their possession are illegal. For example, if you’re facing charges for possessing an illegal drug, you may avoid conviction if your Colorado Springs drug crime attorney can prove that you believed the drug was legal then.

What is the Other Tenth of the Law?

If possession is nine-tenths of the law, you might wonder what the other tenth is. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs say that the tenth that could earn you a conviction in your illegal drug possession case is constitutional arguments.

Your constitutional rights are worth more than a tenth, so you should argue that your rights were violated to defend against the charges. For example, if the police found you in possession of drugs after violating your constitutional rights, you may have the charges dropped before trial.

Constitutional rights violations are relatively common. Skilled drug crime attorneys in Colorado Springs can find loopholes in how the police search was conducted on your person, house, office, or car and use that to defend you while citing constitutional violations.

Is the Saying “Possession is Nine-Tenths Law” Actual Law?

No law states that possession accounts for nine-tenths of what is required to earn a conviction. However, many people are often convicted based on this premise because they believed it was legally accurate during their trial.

In defense, your skilled drug crime attorneys in Colorado Springs can use the following arguments to help you beat the charges:

  • You had a valid prescription to possess the drugs
  • The drugs were wrongly planted on you
  • You didn’t have control over the items in question
  • You were unaware that the drugs were illegal
  • The search by the police violated your rights

A Skilled Drug Crime Lawyer Defending You Against Possession Charges

Being charged with possessing illegal drugs can be frightening as the penalties are harsh and potentially life-altering. You might have heard that possession is nine-tenths of the law, implying your chances of being convicted are high. It’s wise to consult experienced drug crime lawyers in Colorado Springs to understand how the saying might affect you.

The Lux Law Firm has a reputable legal team that can assess your case and advise you on the risks and options of your drug case. We can also provide the legal representation you need to secure your freedom and future. Call us at 719-451-7469 to schedule a FREE case assessment.