The federal law states that you can be punished by jail time and monetary fines if you possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute the drug as it is illegal. This crime can best be explained when broken down into three components: possession, intent to distribute, and possession with the intent to distribute. By law, in order to be charged with possession with the intent to distribute, all three components of the crime will need to have been committed. These laws are no longer just federal law, because many states have adopted this definition as well. The legal process of a drug charge can be complicated and you may benefit from the assistance of a drug possession lawyer if you are facing criminal charges.
Possession of Drugs
In most states and according to the federal government, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance. The term “in possession” does not just mean in the person’s hands, bag, or pockets, it can also mean that the controlled substance is within someone’s control. This means someone can be charged with being in possession of a controlled substance if the drugs are at their house or in their car.
In order to be charged with being in possession of a controlled substance, the person needs to know that there are drugs there. The person would have had to know they obtained or received drugs or knew there were drugs in their home, car, pockets and chose not to get rid of them. In many instances, the court takes it a little further and someone can be charged with possession of controlled substance even if the should have known the drugs were there. Because this is pretty broad, the prosecution has an easier time getting a conviction for a possession charge. You may benefit from having a drug possession lawyer Bloomington, IL trusts on your side throughout the legal process.
Intent to Distribute
In order for someone to be convicted of distributing a controlled substance, the court will need to prove exactly what the person was planning on doing with the drugs. Because the courts are not mind-readers, they will need to be able to show intent based on surrounding circumstances. For instance, if a person was holding a large amount of drugs that would be too large for personal use, it could be assumed they were going to sell the drug. Another way to infer what someone was planning to do with the drugs would be if they have packing materials, large amount of cash in small dollar values, drug paraphernalia, or customer communications.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Someone is not able to be charged with possession with the intent to distribute unless there is simultaneous proof that they were in possession and there was intent to distribute. For instance, if someone has a small amount of a controlled substance in their possession, they are likely not going to be charged with the intent to distribute or reversely, if it clear someone has the intention to sell a large amount of drugs, however, the drugs are not yet in their possession, they cannot be charged for possession with intent to distribute. However, there are varying state penalties that are different in many states.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti Attorneys at Law for their insight into criminal defense and drug possession.