Guilty Knowledge and the Possession of Controlled Substances

When a defendant is charged with a crime involving the possession of a controlled substance, what kind of knowledge or intent must the prosecution show? Must the state prove that the defendant knew that he or she possessed the substance? That the defendant knew that the substance was legally controlled? That the defendant knew the particular identity of the substance? Given the proliferation of controlled substances and the fact that many cannot be distinguished without laboratory equipment, these are important questions.

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When Is There Sufficient Evidence that a Check Writer Knew that He or She Had Insufficient Funds?

If a person writes a check and the check bounces, is that enough to charge the person with the misdemeanor offense of writing a worthless check? What about if the recipient of the check notifies the check writer that the check bounced and the check writer doesn’t pay off the check? This post explores when a criminal charge is a permissible response to a worthless check.

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You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Seized

“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” is classic relationship advice. But is “I didn’t know what I had until it was seized” a classic defense to drug charges? Consider the facts of State v. Hall. An officer stopped the defendant’s car for a traffic violation. The traffic stop led to a search … Read more

Possession of Stolen Goods and Receiving Stolen Goods

I’m working on revising Arrest Warrant and Indictment Forms, a manual that provides charging language for several hundred common offenses. In the course of working on language for possession of stolen goods and receiving stolen goods, I noticed a couple of things that might be of interest. First, there are two statutes that criminalize each … Read more