One of the most common crimes we see charged by prosecutors is possession with the intent to distribute. Prosecutors like this charge because with just the slightest bit of extra evidence they can turn a simple possession case into a possession with the intent to distribute case.
The Law - O.C.G.A. 16-13-30(b) - Possession with the Intent to Distribute
Georgia law prohibits anyone to possess, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, sell drugs with the intent to distribute. This intent to distribute sets this drug charge away from others. In possession and trafficking cases, the government must only prove that you possessed a certain amount of drugs. The amount is determinative of what penalties you will face and prosecutors must prove the weight if they want to enhance the charges beyond simple possession.
In possession with the intent to distribute cases, the prosecutors must actually prove your mental state in regards to the drugs. They prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to distribute the illegal drugs.
How Do Prosecutors Prove the Intent to Distribute?
There are few ways that prosecutors prove (or try to prove) the intent to distribute in Georgia. Some of them are more credible than others.
- The presence of multiple plastic baggies.
- The drugs are split up and packaged individually.
- There is cell phone data that shows text messages (or other messages) indicative of drug sells.
- Word of advice: if you are arrested, keep your mouth shut. If the cops take your phone, don't tell them your password. You have no responsibility to give them your code and they often have a difficult time cracking the ever-common six-digit iPhone code.
- The suspect/defendant tells the cop they were planning on selling the drugs. (Yes, I've seen this).
- Weight of the drugs is not indicative of personal use (because cops are experts on this).
- Cash on the suspect's person.
- Packaging Drugs in Disposable Containers.
How Much Time Can You Get for Possession with Intent?
The answer to this question depends on the drug and if you have any prior convictions.
Penalties for Schedule I or II Drugs (5-life)
If convicted of possessing a schedule I or II drug with the intent to distribute then you are facing five to thirty years. If convicted for a second time, then your face ten to forty years, or, possibly even life in prison.
Penalties for Schedule III, IV, or V Drugs (1-10)
Any person convicted of possessing a Schedule III, IV, or V drug then you are facing anywhere from one to ten years in prison.
Possession with Intent charges are no joke. Do not fight against these charges alone, because the prosecutors are certainly taking your case seriously. All defenses must be explored, warrants must be examined, and a strategy must be developed. Contact us today, come meet Ryan, and let's get started.