There is a significant difference between possessing drugs and possessing them with the intent to sell. If you are found with a small amount of marijuana for personal use, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or possibly enter a diversion program and have the charge dismissed. However, if you are charged with intent to distribute marijuana in your possession, you face felony charges with one to ten years in prison for a first offense and up to life in prison for subsequent convictions.

If police charge you with possession with intent to distribute in McDonough, you should contact one of our drug crime attorneys as soon as possible. A defense attorney familiar with drug cases could counsel you about your legal options and build a strong defense.

The Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof in Drug Cases

The decision to charge and prosecute someone for possession with intent to distribute is different from simple possession as there are certain factors that must be established. To prove guilt, a prosecutor must present evidence that demonstrates the intention to sell and distribute the drug. Therefore, simply possessing it is not enough. This evidence could include:

  • Drug paraphernalia in the accused’s possession, such as syringes, scales, baggies
  • Possession of large amounts of cash
  • Witness testimony from buyers or others in the distribution ring
  • Prior convictions for the same drug crime

The court may consider other factors as well, such as the location of the arrest. People caught with drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, or other drug-free zones face additional penalties. Possessing controlled substances in drug-free areas carries up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for a first offense. A McDonough lawyer could review the evidence that a prosecutor has in a case involving possession with the intent to distribute.

Defenses to Charges of Possession with Intent to Distribute

People charged with possession with the intent to distribute drugs have a right to present their side of the story. When a McDonough lawyer presents a possession with intent to distribute case, defenses are raised to show the accused was either not actually selling narcotics or the arresting officers did not follow proper procedure and violated the accused’s rights.

For instance, law enforcement must conduct legal searches and seizures by obtaining warrants or proving that one of several search warrant exceptions was present. An arrest might be made on school grounds without a warrant if the officer observes someone selling drugs to a student. Alternatively, a warrant may be necessary to enter the home of a suspect who may be cooking and distributing meth on an informer’s tip. Arresting officers must also recite a suspect’s Miranda rights and cannot harass the accused party into committing a crime they would not commit.

Other defenses include mistaken identity or lack of possession (i.e. no knowledge the drugs were present). Even if the suspect is caught red-handed with drugs, if the prosecutor cannot prove an intent to distribute, the charges may be lowered to possession or dismissed entirely.

Contact a McDonough Attorney if Accused of Possession with Intent to Distribute

If you are charged with possession of drugs with the intent to distribute them in McDonough, you may face severe consequences, including fines and jail time.

We are here to help. Our skilled attorneys understand the criminal court system and could work diligently on your behalf. Call today for your initial consultation.

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Carl Chapman