Possession is a property interest under which an individual is able to exercise power over something to the exclusion of all others. It is a basic property right that entitles the possessor to (1) the right to continue peaceful possession against everyone except someone having a superior right; (2) the right to recover a chattel that has been wrongfully taken; and (3) the right to recover damages against wrongdoers.
Possession requires a degree of actual control over the object, coupled with the intent to possess and exclude others. The law recognizes two basic types of possession: actual and constructive.
Actual possession exists when an individual knowingly has direct physical control over an object at a given time. For example, an individual wearing a particular piece of valuable jewelry has actual possession of it. Constructive possession is the power and intent of an individual to control a particular item, even though it is not physically in that person's control. For example, an individual who has the key to a bank safe deposit box, which contains a valuable piece of jewelry that she owns, is said to be in constructive possession of the jewelry.
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