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Drug charges: What is possession with intent to distribute?

There are many residents in Georgia who have been charged with crimes involving drug use or possession. Drug charges can bring serious consequences to those who are convicted. One specific federal drug charge commonly encountered is possession with the intent to distribute. It is important to understand what this charge means in order to mount a solid legal defense.

When people are charged with the crime of possession with intent to distribute, they can face fines and potentially significant prison time in a federal facility. There are three elements that must be present in order for such a charge to be legally valid. First, the controlled substances must be shown to be within their control. Contrary to what many believe, the drugs do not necessarily have to be present on their physical body when charged. The drugs can be in their car, their home, their business or elsewhere under their direct ownership.

The second essential element is the intent to distribute. This means that the people who possessed the drugs were planning to sell them. This is generally inferred when the quantity of drugs seized is more than what a single person would use for his or her own personal consumption. Drug paraphernalia, including packaging materials, a substantial quantity of currency and customer communication can also lead prosecutors to infer the intent to distribute. Finally, both possession and the intent to distribute must have occurred at relatively the same time.

When most in Georgia find themselves faced with serious drug charges, they choose to immediately speak with a criminal defense attorney. Experienced defense attorneys will be able to help their clients evaluate their cases and discover the evidence gathered by the police. They will also have the ability to negotiate with the prosecution and ensure their client's rights are being protected throughout the trial process.

Source: FindLaw, "Possession with the Intent to Distribute", Accessed on Oct. 5, 2016

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