Driving in South Dakota with drugs can land you in hot water. The police have the right to allege possession of drugs which may land on you or extend out to others in the same vicinity.

Having the drugs alone may not constitute a criminal charge, but knowing you have them and what the drugs do is, in fact, illegal. If the police discover narcotics, the state may charge you with possession in one or more of three ways.

1. Physical possession

The most common and easiest charge levied is actual possession of an illegal substance on your person. This occurs if the police discover drugs anywhere on your person, including used or unused quantities in paraphernalia such as pipes, cigarettes and needles. Possessing drug paraphernalia is a separate offense that the police will charge you with.

2. Constructive possession

Driving around with drugs in your middle console may result in a charge of constructive possession. This is a familiar concept, but you may not understand the specifics regarding how it works. If in the course of a search police find drugs somewhere you should have known about, the charge is constructive possession. This goes beyond a vehicle and extends to your home, place of business or your general physical vicinity.

3. Possession by ingestion

If the police suspect you consumed the drugs in an effort to hide them, they will take you to the emergency room for a couple of reasons. First, eating any kind of illegal substance in varying quantities is dangerous and could cause you serious harm or even death. Second, if the hospital can support the theory that you swallowed the drugs to conceal them from law enforcement, you will receive this charge. Possession by ingestion is unusual and, in fact, South Dakota is one of a small group of states that levies this allegation.