Manassas Possession With Intent to Distribute
Possession with the intent to distribute in Manassas is a much more significant charge than simple possession. Essentially, the factors that make it possession with the intent to distribute are possession of enough weight of the drug to constitute an amount presumed to be not for personal consumption. Or you have the drugs packaged in a certain way in multiple smaller doses. Another possible factor could be the packaging materials for distribution, scales, or other paraphernalia that indicates intent to distribute discovered at the same time the drugs are discovered. Speak with a Manassas drug lawyer for more information about what differentiates possession with intent from simple possession charges.
Constructive possession is possessing something that is not actually on your person or in your immediate control. The perfect example of constructive possession is in a situation where there are one or more people in a car and the police find drugs under one of the seats. Absent evidence of fingerprints or statements that the person knew the drugs were there, Manassas police and prosecutors have a long road to get that conviction. This is because constructive possession requires proof that the person was aware of the presence and nature of the substance and that at some point, they exerted dominion and control over it.
In these cases, it would not take much to cast reasonable doubt upon that case, even if police officers charge everyone in the car with possession. It would not take much, absent any other evidence linking you to those drugs, to cast reasonable doubt on whether you were in possession. This is exactly what constructive possession is and it affects how people are charged with possession with intent. It makes it much more difficult for Manassas prosecutors because they have to prove that you were aware the drugs were there, and that you intended to distribute them.
Penalties in Manassas Drug Cases
The first thing people need to understand is that if you are charged with possession with the intent to distribute, you do not have the benefit of any first-offender treatment program. If you are found guilty, you will face very severe punishments in Manassas. For Schedule I or II drugs, if you are found guilty of possession with the intent to distribute, you are looking at a potential five to 40-year sentence allowed by statute.
The realistic outlook for a first offender in Manassas is to probably end up getting a sentence for a year to 18 months. It really depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Your existing record will impact the sentence, but there are also sentencing guidelines that will prescribe a sentence for the particular criminal conviction. The judge also has the ability to suspend all or part of any sentence prescribed by law.
In most first-offense cases for possession with the intent to distribute Schedule I or Schedule II substances, the sentencing guidelines give a sentence between a year and a year and a half. Possession with the intent to distribute is far more significant than simple possession, where if it is your first offense, you have the opportunity to have the case dismissed after a period of probation.
Diversion Programs and Alternative Sentencing
Unfortunately, there are no diversion programs or alternative sentencing provisions available through Virginia law for convictions for Possession with the Intent to Distribute. Diversion programs are only available for people with first-time possession charges. If you add that extra element of the intent to distribute, you are out of luck.
Importance of A Manassas Drug Attorney
If you do not have one, you are almost certainly going to be found guilty. There are a lot of possible defenses to possession of drugs or possession with the intent to distribute. All of them, however, are nuanced and complicated. They frequently involve Constitutional analysis, knowledge of police procedure and chain-of-custody issues. So these are all issues that the general public simply does not have the training or experience to properly analyze. In many cases, possession with the intent to distribute is a felony charge. In those cases the courts will not allow you to defend yourself; you must have an attorney.