Possession, Conspiracy, Aiding and Abetting

Our Macomb County criminal defense lawyers know how to fight a weak criminal case or when someone lacks legal criminal possession or is improperly charged as a conspirator or aider and abettor.


Many persons accused of a drug crime or property crime in Michigan claim lack of possession. A person need not have actual physical possession of a controlled substance to be guilty of possessing it. Possession may be either actual or constructive and does not require ownership. Possession may also be "joint", with more than one person. Possession may be proved by circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom. The police may charge an innocent spouse or roommate with constructive possession.

The Michigan Criminal Jury Instruction, CJI2d 12.7, which defines possession for purposes of controlled substance offenses, states:

Possession does not necessarily mean ownership. Possession means that either:

  • The person has actual physical control of the[controlled substance] . . . or
  • The person has the right to control the[controlled substance], even though it is in a different room or place.


When two or more persons are involved in a criminal enterprise or drug crime, they may be charged with conspiracy. Conspiracy involves the mutual agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal act. Proof of the overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy is not necessary. Since conspiracy is complete upon formation of the agreement, subsequent withdrawal is not a defense.

Aiding and Abetting

If a person assists another in committing a crime, such as a lookout person at the scene of a drug crime, the law holds the person responsible for the conduct of that other person just as though the person had engaged in such conduct himself. Mere presence at the scene of a crime is not sufficient to establish that a person either directed or aided and abetted the crime.

Often in drug cases, the police may erroneously charge an innocent spouse or passenger in an automobile with conspiracy or as an aider and abettor. Sometimes the police use the conspiracy charge against innocent parties or small players to get the person charged to give information leading to the convictions of higher targeted individuals. The ABDO LAW FIRM in Clinton Township can neutralize situations when the police are squeezing innocent parties with a bogus possession or conspiracy charge.