VA Code Of Virginia 18.2-250 Interpretation

"To sustain a conviction for possession of a controlled substance in violation of Code 18.2-250, the evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was aware of the presence and character of the controlled substance." Jones v. Commonwealth, 17 Va. App. 572, 574, 439 S.E.2d 863, 864 (1994). When the Commonwealth seeks to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused constructively possessed a controlled substance, "the Commonwealth must point to evidence of acts, statements, or conduct of the accused or other facts or circumstances which tend to show that the accused was aware of both the presence and character of the substance and that it was subject to his dominion and control." Drew v. Commonwealth, 230 Va. 471, 473, 338 S.E.2d 844, 845 (1986) In LaPrade v. Commonwealth, 191 Va. 410, 418, 61 S.E.2d 313, 316 (1950), the Supreme Court of Virginia summarized principles of testing the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence as follows: ". . . If the proof relied upon by the Commonwealth is wholly circumstantial, as it here is, then to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt all necessary circumstances proved must be consistent with guilt and inconsistent with innocence. They must overcome the presumption of innocence and exclude all reasonable conclusions inconsistent with that of guilt. To accomplish that, the chain of necessary circumstances must be unbroken and the evidence as a whole must satisfy the guarded judgment that both the corpus delicti and the criminal agency of the accused have been proved to the exclusion of any other rational hypothesis and to a moral certainty. . . ."