Richmond Possession With Intent To Distribute Charges

Possession with intent is determined by the amount of drugs in your possession but also by the possession of other items which show intent to distribute or tools of the trade. For instance, over a half ounce of marijuana can be charged as possession with intent, but if you are found in possession of a small amount along with tools of the drug trade like baggies, scales or large amount of cash that charge can become possession with intent.

Possession with intent to distribute comes with significantly higher penalties than simple possession. It comes with active jail and in many cases, it is charged as a felony versus a simple misdemeanor. For this reason it is imperative that you consult with a Richmond drug lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged.

Common Ways PWID Is Charged

The most common way possession with intent is charged is as a result of traffic stops where the officers will find an illegal drug but also find scales, baggies, or a large amount of cash, items that they would be considered part of the drug trade.

Another way distribution charges happen is as a result of evidence of sales by the defendant.  Law enforcement will use confidential informants or undercover officers to conduct buys that are often recorded for use in court.   In some cases these charges result from drug raids conducted with other law enforcement agencies.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession is when you have or should have knowledge of where an item is. The drugs may not personally be on you but due to its location you should know where it is, or you have what’s called the domain or control over that item.

Typically, this results where you’re in a vehicle and there’s either drugs in the center console, under a seat, or within your reach.  While the drug may not be personally on you if it is within reach or an area where you have control, legally you can be found to be in possession.

Consequences Of Possession With Intent Charges

Possession with intent comes with severe consequences.  It’s often a felony conviction that comes with an active jail sentence and license suspension.  Possession with intent charges are punished severely in the City of Richmond and Courts are less likely to offer alternative sentencing or leniency where these charges are concerned.

Alternative Sentencing Methods

There is alternative sentencing available in some cases, however it is not always offered on a possession with intent charge.  Whether it is offered will depend on your criminal record, the amount of the drug found, and what other items were found with the drugs.  There are alternative programs offered however it will often require negotiation on behalf of your attorney to get this result.

How Often is PWID Charged?

Richmond law enforcement often charge people with possession with intent over simple possession in order to dissuade any sort of distribution or drug dealing especially among the colleges that are located within the city. So, if they do arrest you were find the items for sale like baggies or scales, they were almost always charge with possession with intent over simple possession.

Evidence Used in PWID Cases

The State proves intent via the amount of drugs found or other items found in conjunction with drugs. It is not only the drugs found on you but it can also be drug trade items like scales, a large amount of cash, or baggies that can result in a charge of possession with intent. The State will have the officer testify as to what gave rise to the stop or detention and what probable cause existed to conduct the search which led to discovery of the drugs.  They will then testify as to where the drugs were found, the quantity, and if drug trade the Department of Forensic Science about the amount of drug found and what exactly it was.  The key issue for the state is to show what was found constituted possession with intent to distribute not mere possession for personal use.

How Fair Is This To A Defendant?

It’s not always fair because in many cases the law requires the State to make an assumption as to your intent without actually showing you sold any drugs.  In many cases, the drugs found, while a large amount, are for personal use only.

In addition, if you possess a small amount but also are in possession of scales, baggies, or a large amount of cash you can be charged with Possession with intent.

PWID Enforcement

Cracking down on drug distribution is actually one of the highest priorities in law enforcement in the City of Richmond. Within the city of Richmond, there are a large number of schools as well as college campuses, so curtailing and deterring drug distribution is a very high priority.  In addition, the City of Richmond has a history violence associated with the drug trade which makes enforcement all the more important.

Importance of An Attorney When Facing These Charges

It’s very important to have an attorney on a drug possession case when you’re facing these charges or possession with intent charges.  With the possession with intent charge you are typically facing a felony charge that can result in a significant jail sentence and other penalties.

An attorney can often negotiate a settlement on your behalf which could result in a reduction, alternative sentencing option, or at least a less punishment.