Drug Violations Law

Sentencing for Drug Possession With Intent To Distribute

Criminal charges for drug possession with intent to distribute are more severe than simple drug possession charges. Drug possession with intent to distribute means that there is evidence the defendant intended to sell drugs instead of just having drugs for personal use. Intent is generally based on the amount of illegal drugs involved.

Possession with intent can be a felony offense involving jail time, fines, and a felony criminal record. Before pleading guilty to a crime, understand your legal defense options. Criminal laws are different in every state. Talk to a criminal defense lawyer in your area for legal advice after a drug arrest.

Drug Possession With Intent to Distribute

Drug cases involving drug possession are different than possession with the intent to distribute an illegal substance. Intent to distribute suggests the defendant intended to sell the drugs for money.

Most possession with intent cases are based on the quantity of a controlled substance. Intent to distribute can also be shown by evidence of drug sales, including scales and baggies to weigh and package drugs, large amounts of money, or direct evidence of selling drugs.

Drug Distribution Charges

Charges and penalties for drug distribution or drug trafficking can depend on the amount of drugs involved, the type of drug, and other factors. The difference between simple possession of a controlled substance and drug sales depends on the amount of the individual drugs. Drugs are classified by schedule, from Schedule I for more dangerous drugs without a legitimate medical use to Schedule Vfor less harmful drugs with medical uses.

For example, under federal law, possessing less than 5 grams of methamphetamine would generally be considered simple possession and could be charged as a misdemeanor. However, possession of more than 5 grams of methamphetamine could be possession of drugs with intent to distribute and charged as a felony drug crime.

Drug Possession Sentencing

Many drug charges carry mandatory minimum prison sentences. Judges generally have sentencing schedules that allow for a range of prison sentencing. Mitigating factors can lower the penalties, and aggravating factors can increase the penalties.

Mitigating factors can include first-offense drug crime, lack of a prior record, or lack of a prior drug offense, minor participation in the crime, seeking chemical or mental health treatment, or showing remorse for their actions. Aggravating factors can involve the use of a firearm, offenses in a school zone, or the involvement of a minor.

First-Time Criminal Drug Charges

Sometimes, for a first-time offender, there may be alternatives to criminal court to avoid a criminal record. Some states have drug courts for first drug offenses, where eligible participants can work with a team to help them avoid subsequent offenses.

Drug court can involve counseling, mental health or chemical health treatment, and probation. After completing the program, the charges may be dismissed or in some drug courts the prison or jail term may be stayed.

How Can I Find a Drug Defense Attorney?

Knowing where to start when looking for a criminal defense attorney can be challenging. You may not want to ask friends or family for a recommendation because you don’t want them to know about your arrest. You can try your local bar association for recommendations.

You can also try an online attorney directory like LawInfo. On LawInfo, you can search for local attorneys in specific practice areas like drug crime defense.

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