When it comes to drug crimes, most states have different levels. If the offender plans on selling the drugs, penalties become much harsher.
Most states have three levels of offense: drug possession, drug possession with intent to sell, and drug trafficking. A drug distribution offense is far more intense than the others. It is normally charged as a serious felony.
Defenses Against Possession with Intent to Distribute
Most states take this crime very seriously, and they are willing to heap huge penalties on those they find guilty. If you’ve been accused of possession with intent, don’t despair. There are many credible, genuine defenses you can use in your case. Discuss the following defenses with your attorney.
There Was No Intent
The major difference between possession and possession with intent to distribute is just that, intent. Police are assuming that you planned to sell and distribute the narcotics.
Authorities can use flimsy reasoning when making this assumption. If they find you with an amount that they deem “too much,” they can charge you with intent to distribute.
You could challenge that intent. Perhaps you did have a large number of drugs, but you were planning to take them to a party. A claim like that won’t shield you from a standard possession charge, but it could keep you from suffering the steep penalties of an intent charge. Tell your attorney the truth and details of exactly what happened, and they may be able to use those facts in your defense.
The Drugs Were Not Yours
Remember, possession with intent makes two basic assumptions. One is that you intend to distribute drugs. The other is that you are in possession of those drugs.
Simply finding someone near a stockpile of drugs does not mean those drugs belong to that person. Perhaps you live with someone who is a dealer, but you have no connection to their criminal business. Maybe you drop by someone’s house right before the police raid them, and you get caught up in the arrest. If the drugs sincerely aren’t yours, you can explain your circumstance to the court.
The Evidence Is Weak
Volume isn’t the only piece of evidence cops use in a distribution case. Sometimes, they look for surrounding paraphernalia. Baggies, scales, and so on may cause the police to suspect you of distribution, even if they find you with only small amounts of a narcotic.
There are several reasons why you may have these items, from baking to selling knick-knacks on the internet. If the evidence against you is weak, your attorney should be able to create doubt in your case.
You Were Coerced
The drug world is known for its dangerous characters. Perhaps you accidentally fell into the wrong crowd, and they forced you to work for them. They may have threatened you or your family, and you went along to stay safe. If you commit a crime under duress, you may be able to secure a not guilty verdict.
Police Used Improper Methods
Abuses of Power
Police can overstep their bounds in a variety of ways. They can stop you without probable cause; they can invade your privacy without a warrant; they can illegally search your communications; they can coerce confessions from you; etc. Make sure your attorney thoroughly investigates every step the authorities took in your arrest. If they find evidence of an abuse of power, the entire case can be thrown out.
Breaking the “Plain View” Rule
Search warrants are specific about exactly where the police can search. If, for example, the warrant says police may search your garage, then they have no business going inside the home.
Police can arrest someone based on anything they find within the designated search area. If, for instance, they are entering a home looking for drugs and find a body in “plain view,” they can arrest the homeowner for murder.
If, however, there is illegal activity outside of the designated search area, this evidence should not be admissible. Therefore, if the police were allowed to search your living room, wandered into the bedroom, and found drugs there, those drugs were outside the scope of their search. When cops break the plain view rule in this way, the case could be thrown out.
Entrapment is not the same as an undercover operation. Police can set up sting operations, and they can lie about being police while on the job. Cops cannot, however, lure someone into committing a crime that they otherwise wouldn’t commit. Once again, make sure your attorney takes a deep look into the police’s methods, searching for any evidence of entrapment.
If you’ve been charged with drug possession with intent to distribute, reach out to our firm for a free consultation right away. You can call us at (305) 783-3301 or contact us online.