Key points on intent to distribute

While the state of West Virginia now allows the use of medical marijuana, this does not allow all types of drug use. For those who have a controlled substance without a proper prescription, it could lead to serious criminal charges.

The type of drug charge depends upon a few different factors. Particularly in the case of intent to distribute charges, there are certain key points to be aware of.

Definition of intent to distribute

There are certain factors that contribute to supporting an intent to distribute charge. While having certain controlled substances in possession is against the law in general, that fact does not automatically suggest intent to distribute. Courts usually consider a small amount of a substance to be for personal use. On the other hand, a large amount is likely for distribution. There are a few additional findings that law enforcement looks for to substantiate an intent charge:

  • Packaging material
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Client messages or calls
  • Large amounts of money

For defendants, it is important to understand what evidence the prosecution may try to use, so that defendants may build a solid defense against it. If the defendant can create doubt about the use of the items for distribution, it may be beneficial to his or her case.

Understanding possession

In regards to drug charges, possession does not only refer to a party having the substance on his or her person. When it comes to a criminal drug offense, the prosecution needs only to show that the defendant had the substance under his or her control. In other words, whether it is actually in the person's pocket or in his or her home, workspace or personal storage unit, if the person has a way to control the substance, the party is in possession of it. However, it is also important to note that in the case of intent to distribute charges, the prosecution must be able to prove that the party knowingly had the substance in possession.

While fighting drug charges is not easy, it is possible. Having an understanding of the law and charges can aid parties in building a strong case.

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