Possession Laws

Many people have heard the idiom “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” This, however, is simply not true. While it is true that individuals in possession of a valuable piece of property have the advantage in proving that something belongs to them, individuals can illegally possess something.

Illegal possession of a piece of property may indicate theft, robbery, fraud, or another crime. Regardless, a piece of property that is illegally possessed must be returned to its owner according to United States law, and the illegal possessor may face legal justice.

Understanding Possession

The saying “possession is nine-tenths of the law” most likely refers to possession of land. Individuals who possess land are considered the owners of said land unless another person can prove that he or she owns it. An individual may prove possession through:

  • Titles
  • Contracts
  • Tax records

This concept extends beyond land ownership though. An individual can claim to own a piece of jewelry, for example, but the individual may have stolen it from another person’s home. In these cases, the original owner will need to provide documentation to prove that he or she is the rightful owner.

The only case in which possession can be considered nine-tenths of the law is when the true owner of a valuable piece of property cannot prove his or her ownership.

In these cases, this means that there is no sign of breaking and entering a person’s home, no fingerprints at the scene of the crime, and paperwork linking one individual to the piece of property in question.

Contact Us

Contrary to popular belief, possession is not necessarily nine-tenths of the law, especially when another person can prove his or her ownership of a piece of property.

If you have been accused of illegally possessing a piece of property, please contact the Dallas criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today at (214) 845-7007.


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