Fairfax Drug Charges: Possession with Intent to Distribute

In comparison to simpler drug possession charges, possession with the intent to distribute has another layer of facts that the government must prove. The intent to distribute is exactly what it sounds like. It means you are holding on to drugs, but you have no intent of consuming them yourself. Rather you are intending to sell them. While simple possession charges are already taken very seriously in Fairfax, Virginia, possession with intent is taken even more seriously. Local law enforcement officials look unfavorably upon these charges and will prosecute harshly. For these types of cases, it is valuable to hire a Fairfax drug lawyer to guide and lead your defense.

Actual and Constructive Possession

There are two kinds of possession: actual possession and constructive possession. The two different kinds of possession have a huge impact on a how a drug possession charge is prosecuted and defended.

Actual possession means that some is caught holding a controlled substance in their hands, pockets or somewhere else close to them. They are caught with drugs in their physical possession. In a vehicle scenario, if the drugs are found say in a backpack and in that backpack is your I.D., wallet, or some other indicator that the bag belongs to you, it will likely be considered actual possession.

Constructive possession is a circumstance where it is in your general vicinity but not necessarily on your person. A perfect example is the vehicle scenario where a person is charged with possessing drugs that were found in a car, but there is no direct connection between the drugs and the person charged.

Constructive possession is generally considered a flimsier case on the government’s part and it is much more difficult for the government to prove. It makes it even more difficult to prove constructive possession with the intent to distribute, because the government essentially would need to prove that not only did you know the drugs were there, but you knew that the drugs were illegal at the time that they were there. They also would need to prove that you had some extra intent associated with the drugs. It goes beyond the showing of actual knowledge; they need to show the intent to do something illegal with the drugs that were there.

Penalties in Fairfax Possession with Intent to Distribute Cases

The penalties involved are different depending on the substance. For instance, if it is a Schedule I or II substance the penalty is five to 40 years in prison for a first offense. There are lesser penalties for lesser offenses, but it is important to understand that possession with the intent to distribute is very serious. It would not hurt your defense to hire a Fairfax drug lawyer for representation in your defense.

Frequency of Possession With Intent to Distribute Charges in Fairfax

In Fairfax, police officers use discretion, and the decision is largely dependent upon the amount of drugs that were involved. By statute there are certain drugs, which if possessed in certain quantities, can automatically result in a charge of possession with the intent to distribute. For example, if it is anything more than one-and-a-half ounces of marijuana, it can and often will result in a charge of possession with the intent to distribute.

The legal reasoning behind all this is that it is generally considered to be true that a person would not be in possession of such a large quantity of drugs if they intended it for just personal consumption. If a person is in possession of a large quantity of drugs, you should expect they will be charged with possession with the intent to distribute because the government will not buy claims that the person intended to consume those drugs all on their own. In any case, retain a Fairfax drug attorney as soon as you can so that you can start fighting these charges immediately. If there are any constitutional issues with your case, your attorney can help you bring those up in court.