How prosecutors prove intent to distribute charges

If you've been charged with drug possession with an intent to deliver charge tacked onto it, then it's important to know that three distinct elements must be met to charge you with that crime.

Perhaps the most obvious element of all is that you have to have been in possession of the controlled substance at the time of your arrest. This means that you must have either had the drug in your hands or your belongings at the time of your arrest.

You can even be charged with possession of a controlled substance if it was found in either your car or home and there's evidence that suggests that you knew about it, yet did nothing to get rid of it.

The second element that must exist in order to try someone on such a charge is that there was an actual intent to distribute the drug. Since it's impossible to understand the inner thoughts of a defendant to understand what his or her true intentions were, prosecutors rely heavily on circumstantial evidence when trying to prove intent.

If you were caught with more of the drug than prosecutors would think any one person could consume, then this may warrant an intent to distribute charge being tacked on to your possession one. The same logic applies if you're found with large sums of money on you, with drug packaging materials, paraphernalia or cellphones that show you've communicating with customers.

Sentences in both federal and state possession with the intent to distribute cases vary depending on the type of drug involved and whether there are any aggravating factors present, such as it was peddled near a school. A defendant's prior criminal record can impact his or her sentencing as well.

If you've been arrested on suspicion of intent to distribute charges, then a Christiansburg attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Possession with the intent to distribute," accessed May 24, 2018

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