Fredericksburg Possession with Intent to Distribute Lawyer

Possession is taken very seriously in Fredricksburg and the state of Virginia as a whole. The legal system works hard to crack down on this crime because it is typically attached to the distribution of drugs, or rather the intent to distribute.

Someone that is brought up on charges of distributing drugs or the intent to do so can face harsh penalties and a heavy sentence if convicted. As such, a knowledgeable drug lawyer should be contacted immediately after an someone has been charged with a crime of this magnitude. It is crucial that you seek a Fredericksburg possession with intent to distribute lawyer as soon as you can in an effort to start building a sound defense that will mitigate repercussions.

Understanding the Charge

Possession with an intent to distribute charge in Fredericksburg involves the same elements as possession, but is clearly defined by Virginia Code Section 18.2-248, which states, “it shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell, give, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance.”

The prosecutor will use this information to build their case against the defendant and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was an intent to distribute.

To do so, certain elements will have to be present in a case, such as:

  • An item must be possessed, actually or constructively, knowingly and intentionally.
  • The item must be a Scheduled substance I through IV or marijuana.
  • The defendant must have had clear intent to distribute the drugs that were found in their possession.

While the Commonwealth may be able to prove that a defendant was in possession of a drug/substance, they may not be able to prove that there was an intent to distribute it, whether it is for pecuniary gain or for accommodated purposes. To convict someone of this crime, it must be proven that the defendant had the intent to subsequently distribute it in one way, shape, or another for personal gain or for accommodation.

Potential Penalties

A simple possession is going to be a class V felony and going to carry a maximum penalty of 10 years. There is also a first offender program available for individuals charged with possession.

Possession with the intent to distribute is a class U felony. If a person is dealing with a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, then their penalty is going to be anywhere from five to 40 years, with fines of up to $500,000.00. Upon a second conviction of a substantially similar offense or the same offense, a person is looking at five to 40 years and an individual is also looking at a mandatory minimum period of a jail sentence of three years.

A first offense of possession with intent to distribute, a judge still has the power to suspend a defendant’s sentence. Then, a jury has to give anywhere between five to 40 years but a judge can suspend some of his or her sentence on a first offense.

However, on a second offense, no judge can give a person anything less than three years, a person has to do three years in the department of corrections. Upon a third or a subsequent conviction of a possession with the intent to distribute, a person can get up to life in jail from a jury. Additionally, there is a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for every subsequent conviction after a second charge.

The way that it essentially escalates is with a first offense you are looking at five to 40 years. On a second offense, it is five to 40 to a mandatory of three years. On a third offense, you can get up to life and a person is going to do a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years every time an individual is convicted of a third or subsequent offense.

Possession & Intent Charges

Since possession is a lesser than possession with intent to distribute, at a very technical level, every possession with an intent to distribute could also be a possession.

A person can also be charged multiple times depending on the actual situation or scenario with a simple possession and a possession with the intent to distribute of different items.

For example, if an individual is pulled over and law enforcement finds an eight-ball of cocaine in the person’s pocket and eight pounds of marijuana in their trunk, they can be charged with possession with intent to distribute the marijuana.

The person would only be charged with simple possession of the cocaine because, under the eyes of the Commonwealth, there was no intent to distribute the cocaine because of the amount of the drug.

A Fredericksburg possession with intent to distribute attorney can help fight the charges – whether simple possession or possession with intent – and be your advocate.

Role of an Attorney

A possession with intent to distribute lawyer in Fredericksburg can determine the best possible defense to introduce reasonable doubt to the jury and judge.

Depending on the facts involved in a case, once an individual is charged with possession with intent to distribute, their possession with intent to distribute attorney may be able to reduce the charge down to a simple possession.

Simple possession almost never turns into intent to distribute charges. In certain cases where this does occur, it normally involves marijuana and the reason for the escalation in charges is more than likely going to be due to weight.