Drug Possession With Intent to Distribute
Have you been charged with drug possession with intent to distribute? Get in touch with The Waltman Firm in Marietta today. We can offer you legal representation.
What Is Possession With Intent to Distribute?
The possession of illegal drugs has serious consequences, and if a person is shown to have an intent to distribute, the penalty becomes even harsher. If you or someone you love has been charged with possession with intent to distribute, don’t give up.
With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to have drug charges dismissed or reduced. Call The Waltman Firm for more information.
Defining Possession With Intent to Distribute
Georgia Code 16-13-30 prohibits purchasing, possessing, and controlling controlled substances, including marijuana. The code also prohibits drug possession with intent to distribute. Therefore, possessing any controlled substance with the intent to distribute is illegal. The law also prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia.
So what does possession with intent to distribute mean? Possession with intent to distribute means possessing a controlled substance with the intent to deliver or transfer it to another person, with or without a financial interest. The offense does not require proof of intent to sell. Possession with intent to sell is generally charged when a person is found with a large quantity that is more than they can use.
Z, for instance, is caught with eight sachets of cocaine that total more than 28 grams each in his car. The police officer will likely conclude that there is probable cause that these are going to be sold or distributed.
In accordance with federal and state laws, the prosecutors must prove both possession and intent to commit the crime.
Possession: Possession can either be physical or constructive. You have physical possession if the drug is under your physical control. For instance, it is found in your hands or pockets.
Meanwhile, you have constructive possession if it is found in a place you have control over. For example, it is inside your car, house, or business establishment. Constructive possession requires the person to know about the drugs at their place.
Intent: The prosecutor must present direct and circumstantial evidence that the person intends to distribute or sell controlled substances. To prove intent, officers may obtain testimony from other witnesses. Intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Criminal Penalties for Possession With Intent to Distribute
Georgia drug penalties are a bit similar to the federal law. Possession with intent to distribute drugs is a felony charge.
If the crime involves controlled substances under Schedule I or II, the minimum sentence is five years. The maximum sentence is 30 years. Upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense, the state prison sentence ranges from 10 to 40 years or life imprisonment.
Schedule III, IV, and V substances carry a penalty of one to ten years in prison.
The drug schedules are determined based on potential abuse. Some known controlled substances and their schedules are:
- Schedule I: Ecstasy, cannabis, heroin.
- Schedule II: Cocaine, fentanyl, cocaine, oxycodone.
- Schedule III: Testosterone, anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV: Valium, Ativan, Xanax
- Schedule V: Cough suppressants
Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go to Jail?
First-time drug offenders convicted of possession with intent to distribute may be sentenced to 2 to 4 years in jail. In addition, they can be ordered to pay up to $20,000 in fines.
If this is your first offense, you may benefit from the conditional discharge in terms of section 16-13-2 of the Georgia Code. The conditional discharge lets first-time offenders plead guilty and avoid jail time by accepting probation instead of a prison sentence.
The defendant will be placed on probation, which is limited to three years for a drug crime or five years for a property crime. While serving a sentence, the defendant will not be considered guilty. The defendant must adhere to the terms imposed by the court. If they violate their probation, they will be arrested again and found guilty by the court.
A primary objective of the program is to reduce recidivism and encourage defendants to change their behavior. Individuals may have to complete a comprehensive drug rehab program and undergo medical treatment for a period not exceeding three years.
During the program, participants learn about drug abuse’s negative effects, how they can improve their lives by being good citizens, as well as the pros and cons of using drugs.
Upon successfully completing the program, the defendant may be eligible for other forms of assistance, and their criminal record can be expunged.
How to Fight Possession With Intent to Distribute Charges
We understand that you might be feeling helpless, but don’t be. With a solid legal defense, you or your loved one can be spared from the legal consequences of a drug conviction.
Some common defenses that can help avoid conviction are the following:
There was unlawful or illegal entrapment.
The arrest was made after an illegal search. In this case, your defense lawyer must timely file a motion to dismiss.
The person arrested is a licensed pharmacist, manufacturer, or distributor.
The chemist did not testify during the trial.
The person did not know that they were in possession of an illegal drug.
The place where the drugs were found is owned by someone else.
You are the least guilty and can assist in identifying the other culprits.
It’s important that you hire an attorney who can effectively fight a drug possession charge. A good defense attorney will know the following:
- When and what to petition the court for your case to be dismissed
- How to prove that your rights were violated
- How to prove that you were wrongfully accused
- How to establish that your possession was lawful.
How the Waltman Firm Can Help With Your Legal Battle
As an experienced criminal defense lawyer, Holly Waltman is your go-to attorney. The Waltman Firm has fought countless criminal charges with dedication and grit. You might not think you have a chance now. But if you allow us to study your case, you might just change your mind.
Our team is used to going over and above to strategize the best defense for your charges. We firmly believe that every person has a right to professional legal representation. If you or your loved one have been accused of drug possession, contact an experienced attorney today.