DC Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Lawyer 

Drug possession with intent to distribute charges in DC consist of a possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it to others.

Since the punishments for possession with intent to distribute can be very serious, you should fight your charges as soon as possible. If you have been charged, it is very important that you consult an experienced drug defense lawyer. A DC drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer will protect your rights and build your defense.

Gathering Evidence

Possession with intent to distribute charges in DC do not require proof that a person actually sold the substance or there was any transfer of the controlled substance. The prosecutors use the circumstances of possession as proof that the person’s possession of a controlled substance was with the intent to sell or distribute it. Those circumstances include the amount of substance the person had in their possession or any paraphernalia that suggests the intent to transfer.

Evidence that a person intended to transfer the controlled substance from themselves to another person can also be charged as possession with intent to distribute. The exception to that is marijuana. Marijuana legalization allows a person to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to another person as long as that transfer is not in exchange for something of value. They cannot sell up to one ounce; they cannot transfer from one person to another person for monetary gain or something of value.

Drug Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia can include empty baggies a person has in their possession or the manner in which the controlled substance is packaged. For example, if a person is in possession of 10 grams of cocaine packaged in 10 separate baggies containing one gram each, the prosecutor can allege that the person packaged the cocaine in that manner to make it easier to sell or distribute. The prosecutor can claim that the type of packaging shows the intent to distribute the cocaine as opposed to the intent to possess it for personal use.

The prosecutor can use a significant amount of cash on or around a person as evidence of the intent to distribute. They can also use any statements made by the person around the time of their arrest as an admission of their intent to distribute.

Effect on a Drug Possession Charge

When a person is charged with possession with intent to distribute law violations in DC, it is considered to be a more serious offense compared to simple possession. For example, if a person is in possession of a small amount of cocaine and there is no evidence of the intent to distribute, that person is charged with a misdemeanor offense and faces the associated lower penalties of a misdemeanor offense. When someone is arrested for possession of a large amount of cocaine and there is evidence to show the person’s possession of cocaine was not for their personal use, but with the intent to distribute it, the person faces much higher penalties. That includes felony charges and the possibility of higher fines, longer jail sentences, and a felony conviction on their record.

Possession vs. Possession With Intent

There is a difference between simple possession and possession with intent to distribute. Simple possession charges are cases where the prosecutors claim a person was in actual possession or constructive possession of a controlled substance for their personal use. Possession with intent to distribute is where the prosecutors allege that a person was in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. However, the circumstances of the possession show that their intention was not to possess the substance for their own use; their intention was to transfer that controlled substance in whole or in part to another person.

When police make an arrest on allegations or suspicions that a person is in possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it, the US Attorney’s office for DC make the decision as to what charges to file. The US Attorney’s Office looks at the case and decides if there is enough evidence to prove that a person possessed the substance with the intent to distribute it. When they do not believe they have enough evidence to support the intent to distribute charge, the US Attorney’s office may decide to charge the person with simple possession. That is an important distinction because, in many circumstances, the difference is a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge.

Negotiating a Charge

If a prosecutor decides to charge a person with possession with intent to distribute, that does not mean the charge stays that way. A possession with intent to distribute attorney in DC can analyze the prosecutor’s evidence, challenge the evidence, and argue to the prosecutors to lower the charge to a misdemeanor simple possession case. The lawyer could discuss with their client the possibility of challenging their case at a trial and have a jury decide whether the prosecutor is able to prove the person possessed the controlled substance with the intent to distribute it.

Diversion Programs

In most circumstances, diversion and alternative sentencing options are only available in cases where a person is charged with simple possession. That includes probation without an adjudication of guilt, a mental health order, or drug court for simple possession. The DC prosecutors, legislature, and judges more often see people facing these charges as people who suffer from addiction or suffer from a medical issue who should not be facing more serious consequences associated with criminal activity. Possession with intent to distribute is perceived by prosecutors and judges as a different kind of charge. As a result of this belief, finding an experienced drug possession attorney is crucial for building a strong case that can defend the alleged as well and effectively as possible.

Contact an Attorney

A possession with intent distribute charge can have very harsh consequences. A DC drug possession with intent to distribute attorney can challenge the prosecutor’s argument and evidence, for the intent to distribute, and get that reduced to a simple possession charge. If you are facing penalties for a possession with intent to distribute charge, it would be in your best interest to consult with an experienced drug possession attorney as soon as possible.