Does the prosecution have to prove more than the mere presence of drugs in a moving vehicle?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Lopez, 2d Crim. No. B267494 (Cal. App. 2018):

Lopez relies heavily upon comments reflecting an intent to statutorily abrogate the holding in People v. Rogers (1971) 5 Cal.3d 129 (Rogers). In that case, a driver (Rogers) was convicted of transporting drugs possessed by passengers in his vehicle, but acquitted of possessing drugs himself. He claimed on appeal the prosecution had to prove more than the mere presence of drugs in his moving vehicle. Because transportation was listed in the criminal statute alongside such acts as furnishing, selling or distributing drugs, he argued that proof of an intent to engage in trafficking activities was required. (Id. at pp. 134-135.) A sharply divided court (4-3) ruled otherwise, holding that mere transportation was sufficient under the language of the statute.

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