Possession With Intent To Distribute
Drug possession charges in Georgia may qualify for a greater severity level when they are considered possession with the intent to distribute. Intent to distribute charges are qualified when it is determined that an individual is in possession of more drugs than that person would use only for themselves. Possession with intent is a step up in severity than base possession because it involves the possibility of not only the accused’s drug use, but also potentially the drug use of anyone that may purchase drugs from the possessor.
This charge is classified as intent, not just possession. The most important factor in a possession with intent case is determining what evidence the police would consider that shows there could be intent to distribute. This is determined by quantity and circumstance, but not necessarily on the act of a sale of the substance in question. A person is not required to be caught selling drugs in order to show that they intended to distribute them. Circumstantial evidence, including quantity, can point to an intent case. Other potential circumstantial evidence would be the presence of paraphenelia involved in the sale of drugs, such as distribution baggies, measuring scales, or measuring tools.
Possession With Intent Penalties
Understanding what’s at stake for intent to distribute cases starts with understanding who’s at risk from distribution. It’s one thing for a person to choose to use drugs for themselves, but entirely another thing when they choose to involve someone else by distributing drugs to that person. As such, intent cases, sale cases, and trafficking cases are much more severe than their possession counterparts.
Intent to distribute cases are all felonies. Any case that is either convicted or plead as an intent will be subject to standard felony conditions and penalties, including significant loss of rights, privileges, and many other benefits a non- felon enjoys. Intent to distribute cases also vary in severity within themselves based on the drug schedule categorization outlined in the drug crimes page. Generally, Schedule I and II are the most severe, followed closely by Schedule III, IV, and V. This is no different for intent cases.
Possession with intent involving a Schedule I or II drugs will result in the possibility of prison for 5-30 years for a first offense. A second offense would effectively double the stakes and result in 10-40 years or even a life sentence if convicted. Schedule III, IV, and V are 1-10 years of prison time for a first- time conviction with 2-20 for subsequent convictions. All general conditions of probation or parole, including hefty fines, community service, classes, and many other conditions would also be widely seen for an intent conviction. It’s easy to overlook the damage a felony conviction could have on your life in the long term. Felons frequently struggle to gain and maintain meaningful employment, secure loans, and gain approval for housing.
Possession With Intent Defenses
Defense of an intent case begins with a critical review of whether the State can prove there really was an intent for distribution. Does the State have circumstantial evidence such as baggies or scales? Was an actual sale made? Some cases may be more complicated than basic examples, such as involvement with confidential informants among other possibilities. But, generally, a solid intent case will include one or more of these aspects. Every case is different, and as a result the greatest resource you can give your defense attorney is time. Motions to suppress, dismissals, reductions in charges, etc., are all a product of the time you afford your attorney to get the job done you’re hoping they can