What You Need to Know About Drug Possession in South Dakota


When you are stopped by law enforcement, always remember there are three ways the state can allege possession of controlled substances or drugs in South Dakota. Keep in mind that the possession of drugs requires you know what the drug is and that it exists. You also have to intend to possess the drug and be aware of your possession. Under some circumstances, possession can even be shared with others.

The most familiar method of possession is actual physical possession. An example of actual physical possession is when a person has drugs on their person such as in their pockets or belongings. This can also apply to items containing drug residue like a pipe or other drug paraphernalia. You could still be charged separately for any paraphernalia.

Another common type of possession is constructive possession. This arises in scenarios when a person has control over the drugs or the location where the drugs are found. Constructive possession most often results when multiple people share a location such as rooms, homes, and vehicles. If multiple types of controlled substances or drugs are found in a given location, you could be charged for each type of drug found. 

The third type of possession is possession by ingestion. Currently, South Dakota is the only remaining state in the nation that makes it a crime to possess a drug within your body. This type of possession arises merely from the fact that there are metabolites of a drug in your system. Due to the metabolites, the notion is that you possess the drugs in an altered state in your body. These metabolites are typically screened through blood, hair follicle, and urine tests. Possession by ingestion can potentially result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the type of drug or controlled substance alleged to be within your body.