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Drug charges have serious, life-long consequences. You could be facing jail time, fines and a permanent record upon conviction. If authorities suspect you intended to sell or give away the drugs, these consequences could be even more severe, so consider reaching out to an Alameda County drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer. A practiced drug attorney could help you build a strong defense to protect your future.

How is Intent to Distribute Defined?

Possession with the intent to distribute is defined as an individual having drugs either on his or her person or constructively in his or her possession in an area with access and knowledge of the presence of that controlled substance. The drugs must be in a large quantity that could not justifiably be for personal use, or broken down into small portions for distribution. Additionally, authorities may determine there was intent to distribute based on the presence of large quantities of money, firearms, scales, accounting ledgers, or text messages discussing transactions.

Distinguishing between possession and possession with intent begins with the law enforcement officer who makes an arrest. The officer will write a report of any supporting evidence that was found to be indicative of an intent to sell and distribute. A district attorney then reviews the charges and determine whether it is simple possession for personal use or whether it is possession with the intent to sell.

Potential Charges in Alameda County

It is possible but uncommon in Alameda County for a charge to escalate from simple possession to possession with intent. If somebody is arrested for simple possession, the officer probably lacks evidence of intent to sell. Typically, the court does not issue a subsequent order for a search warrant to look for additional drugs. For example, if a person is caught with a meth pipe, it is more likely this person is using it for his or her own personal use as opposed to trying to sell it. Instead of seeking a search warrant for the individual’s property, the officer may use this person to find out the source of the drugs. That source is then likely to become the target of an intent to sell or distribute investigation.

Intent to distribute is a more severe charge than simple drug possession. Simple possession could be charged as a misdemeanor, and the penalties could include drug court or a diversion program. In contrast, intent to distribute is usually charged as a felony with penalties including jail time and fines. An Alameda County attorney experienced in drug possession with intent to distribute charges could fight to minimize the potential penalties the defendant could be facing.

How is Intent Charged?

Individuals involved in any step of intent to sell could be charged. This includes persons involved with the transportation of the controlled substance in a vehicle, trafficking the drug, and possession with the intent to sell, distribute, or manufacture. Sometimes there are cultivation charges. The severity of the charge depends on the substance, the conduct that the person was engaged in, whether he or she was in a vehicle traveling with the substances or found in a house where it was being manufactured.

Proving Intent to Sell

To secure a conviction on possession with intent to distribute charges, the prosecution has to prove that there was either actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. This requires the accused to have knowledge that an illicit substance was present. Additionally, the prosecution must prove there was a specific intent to sell based on the quantity of the substance, whether or not there was enough of the drug to use or sell, and the surrounding circumstances supporting the intent.

Call an Alameda County Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Attorney

The consequences of a drug charge could go well beyond jail time and fines. If convicted, you could potentially be registered as a drug offender, and you may face difficulty obtaining employment or purchasing a property. Contact an Alameda County drug possession with intent to distribute lawyer today to schedule your first consultation.

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