Many people may think that in order to be charged with possession, a police officer must find a drug on your person. However, whether the item was inside your purse or luggage, clothing or in your hands, that's far from the case. An individual can actually be charged with drug possession even in cases in which a drug is simply relatively close to them, such as in their home or car.
To be charged with possession in the case of the latter, an officer need only to be able to demonstrate that you were aware of its existence, yet failed to do anything to dispose of it.
There are some circumstances in which an individual found to have been in possession of drugs is also charged with having an intent to distribute them. Those arrested with being in possession of drugs in excess of what would be reasonable for a single individual's consumption are often charged with having an intention to distribute them.
Additionally, anyone arrested for a drug crime that's also in the presence of significant sums of cash, packaging materials, drug scales or other paraphernalia may be suspected of this crime as well. Any evidence of communication with individuals about drugs on cell phones or other electronic devices may indicate an intent to distribute the drug as well.
An individual found in possession of a drug who has also communicated about it or has taken some other type of action to disperse or sell it are likely to be charged with possession with the intent to distribute.
The aforementioned crimes are both illegal under federal and Virginia state law. If convicted, violations of federal drug laws are punished in accordance with Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Aggravating factors, such as either possessing or distributing drugs to minors or mentally incapacitated individuals, can result in other charges or longer sentences.
Sentences may also be impacted by the individual's previous arrest history and type and amount of the drug possessed.
If you've been charged with either possessing, selling or trafficking drugs, then it's prudent to seek out the counsel of an experienced Christianburg, Virginia drug crimes attorney to provide guidance in your case.
Source: FindLaw, "Possession with the intent to distribute," accessed Oct. 27, 2017