Manassas Drug Cases: Proving Possession With Intent

In Manassas, possession with intent to distribute is often charged if police officers and prosecutors believe they can prove it. If someone is caught with possession of a small amount of drugs, it is unlikely that local officials will seek to prosecute this person for possession with intent. But if there is large amount of drugs, they are packaged in a certain way, or they are discovered with other kinds of paraphernalia that would indicate the drugs were not for personal use, then Manassas officials will not hesitate to charge you with possession with the intent to distribute. Possession with intent is a more serious charge, and as a result, anyone charged with it will be facing more rigorous penalties. The sooner someone speaks with a Manassas drug lawyer, the sooner they’ll be able to start fighting a possession with intent to distribute charge.

How the Government Proves Intent

Unfortunately, the way the law is written, possession of a certain amount of drugs can automatically lead to a presumption of intent to distribute.For example, in marijuana cases, if you are in possession of anything more than half an ounce of marijuana, the government can presume you intended to distribute based solely upon the weight of the drug. The simple act of the police discovery can be enough to justify a charge of possession with the intent to distribute.

The presence of scales and presence of multiple packaging devices are other big factors that can influence whether or not someone is charged with intent. If someone is in possession of only half an ounce all in one bag, the chances are good that a Manassas drug lawyer may be able to defeat a possession with intent charge. However, if they have a pound and it is packaged in such a way that is clear it is intended to go to other people, it is a little bit more difficult.

Fairness to Those Charged

Sometimes, weight presumptions in charging possession with intent can be pretty unfair. Throughout the years, Manassas drug lawyers have faced many cases where people are charged with intent simply for having over half an ounce of marijuana. Police officers didn’t have evidence that the individual had previously sold drugs, but he or she was still charged with potent. There are certain aspects of Virginia drug laws that can lead to unfairness in prosecution possession with intent charges.

Distribution Charge More Serious Than Intent in Manassas

There are elements that can make the charge more serious or that can add to the severity of the charge. For example, possession with the intent to distribute on any school grounds is an elevated charge. It is what we call an aggravating factor. In certain types of cases, if the volume of drugs is very large, the sentence given under the sentencing guidelines can be impacted. For example, if there is possession of heroin or cocaine in a large quantity, the severity of the sentencing under the sentencing guidelines can go up. Possession with intent is can be elevated to even more detrimental levels. Charges for transportation into the Commonwealth, manufacturing the drugs, and many others can be much worse. If the facts are sufficient to support those kinds of charges, you will be charged and the penalties can be worse than possession with intent.