Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with possession with the intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or give a drug or controlled substance is just as serious under Virginia law as being charged with actual distribution, sale or manufacture, of a controlled substance. If you have been accused of drug possession with the intent, you will need immediate assistance from an experienced Fairfax possession with intent lawyer. Call today and schedule a consultation with a drug lawyer in Fairfax.
While possession with intent can be just as serious as related charges, its parameters are much less clear-cut. Whereas distribution, for instance, can be easier to define – was the drug distributed or not? – possession with intent can be murkier and typically turns on whether the accused person was in possession of enough of a substance to indicate more than an intent to utilize the drug for personal use. Your Fairfax possession with intent attorney can examine the evidence against you and advise you as to how to proceed with your defense.
Constructive possession is when the drug is not found on his or her body or in his or her immediate vicinity, but it is in his or her control and dominion and the person has knowledge of it. It is part of the analysis for possession with intent to distribute because the police prove possession before they can prove intent to distribute. It is more difficult to prove possession with intent to distribute in a constructive possession case. An experienced drug attorney will be necessary when facing charges of this magnitude when facing constructive possession because the accused could be facing significant time in prison.
In Fairfax, it is common for a simple possession charge to escalate when there is some indicator that the individual might have an intent to distribute. Possession with intent is a heightened charge. If the controlled substance is on a more serious Schedule, it will elevate the charge and may have a mandatory minimum sentence. The specific penalty increase depends on the substance and the amount of the substance.
Possession with intent to distribute requires the accused to be possession of the substance in question and the circumstances around the possession suggests that the possession was with intent to distribute. The circumstances may include possessing baggies or scales. Sometimes, the sheer amount of the substance possessed leads the police to believe that there is intent to distribute, rather than possession for personal use.
Under Virginia Code 18.2-248, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, give, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance.
Specific charges and their respective penalties depend more on the amount of the substance in possession, and the type of drug – specifically which Schedule level the U.S. Department of Justice has designated the drug to fall into – than on whether the drug was allegedly sold, manufactured, possessed or distributed. Your possession with intent attorney in Virginia can explain the charges you are facing and their specific penalties.
In the most common drug possession cases, intent to distribute is determined by the physical evidence that is present, such as baggies or scales. The volume of the drug can indicate an intent to distribute, whether or not the individual is going to distribute. Statements of intent also provide the police with evidence of intent. If the evidence that is discovered during an investigation proves that the individual being charged was not only in possession of an illegal substance, but also had the supplies needed to sell said substance, he or she can and will be charged with both possession with intent to distribute as well as simple possession.
Schedule I or II substances, such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD, can land a person in jail for five to 40 years, in addition to a fine of up to $500,000 if he or she is convicted of possession with intent in regards to the drug.
If a person is accused of possessing methamphetamines with intent, or if the amount of cocaine, heroin, or substance containing meth exceeds certain threshold amounts, he or she faces a penalty of five years to life in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years.
Persons with prior drug-related convictions face five years to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of three years in prison, in addition to the monetary fine, and those with more than one prior conviction face ten years to life in prison with a mandatory minimum of ten years served.
Usually, there are not diversionary programs for possession with intent to distribute cases. An attorney may, however, be able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the charge to a simple possession charge.
Regardless of the type of amount of drug the charges against you deal with, your possession with intent attorney in Virginia can work to keep your record clear of convictions.
Many other circumstances can lead to enhanced or heightened penalties for possession with intent, including being classified as part of a continuing drug enterprise, working with so-called “high- volume dealers,” and being involved in a violent crime or one in which someone was injured.
Possession with intent to distribute, sell or manufacture smaller quantities of marijuana is treated differently by the courts than other controlled substances. The penalties can range from a up to a year in jail and $2500 for a misdemeanor charge to a felony conviction carrying up to 30 years in prison, depending on the amount of marijuana, and whether the person intended to profit off the alleged intended sale or distribution.
While many possession with intent charges carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence or enhanced penalties, your experienced Fairfax possession with intent lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced penalties, especially if you have no prior convictions and no one was injured during the alleged offense.
Facing a possession with intent charge can be frightening, but working with one of our Fairfax possession with intent attorneys is the first step you can take toward clearing your name of unfair charges or reducing the penalties you may face.