Baltimore Possession with Intent to Distribute Lawyer
If you are facing a drug possession charge, you could already be facing serious consequences. However, if the charge escalated to possession with the intent to distribute, the consequences you could be facing increase significantly. You may benefit from contacting a seasoned drug attorney. A Baltimore possession with intent to distribute lawyer could examine the facts of your case and determine the best course of action to take.
What is Possession with Intent to Distribute?
Possession with intent to distribute in Maryland is defined as having any controlled dangerous substance with the intent to give or sell to others in the community. Whether there is an intent to distribute is oftentimes based on the quantity of the drug that is possessed, because that could determine whether there is an intent for simple possession and personal use or whether or it is of a high enough quantity to suggest the intent of distribution. Law enforcement officers investigating the case and prosecutors proving the case determine whether the defendant should be charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute.
Determining Intent in Baltimore
A prosecutor must prove that the individual was in possession of the controlled dangerous substance and that they had the intent to not simply possess the drug but also to distribute or sell it to other members in the community.
If an officer has arrested someone for a simple possession charge and they find large amounts of that controlled dangerous substance during the arrest and investigation, they must find further reasons regarding why they should escalate the charge to an intent to distribute. Often, this requires trained experts who will search the person, their vehicle, and the surrounding area as much as they can.
Possession with intent to distribute is charged under Maryland law, Criminal Code 5-602, which is its own separate section for distributing controlled dangerous substances. Possession with intent to distribute severely increases the potential penalties of a possession charge. It could increase a simple possession charge, which could carry the maximum penalty of four years as a misdemeanor, to a felony offense that can carry up to 20 years, depending upon the type of drug that is possessed and potentially distributed.
The difference between constructive and actual possession, which often is used as a defense to possession with intent to distribute charges, relies on a legal principle. Constructive possession indicates that the contraband in question was not in the physical control of the defendant at the time that they were seized or searched. If the contraband was on their person, physically controlled by them, that is considered actual possession.
What are Intent Penalties?
Penalties in a possession with intent to distribute case depends on the type of drug associated with the charges. The charge itself raises the potential penalties from being a misdemeanor charge to a felony. If convicted, the person would have a felony on their record and could spend up to the possibility of 20 years in prison, depending upon the drug associated with it.
In addition, there are drug treatment programs that the courts oftentimes will look to as alternative sentencing. There are a number of factors that the courts consider:
- Prior criminal history type
- Quantity of the drug or contraband
- The purpose behind the selling (i.e. whether it is for purely financial gain or to fuel their personal drug habits).
The court decides whether to engage in alternative sentencing on a case-by-case basis. Fortunately, a dedicated possession with intent to distribute lawyer in Baltimore could fight for an individual who is facing charges.
Contact a Baltimore Possession with Intent to Distribute Attorney Today
It is crucial to have an attorney when facing charges of possession with intent to distribute because these are felony offenses. The defenses to these types of cases are legally specific and may include detailed constitutional issues, such as whether the person was properly searched and the items seized. An attorney that has experience in possession with intent to distribute cases will be well-versed in these areas of law and may be able to use the proper argument successfully to keep out the damaging evidence against the individual before trial. Call a Baltimore possession with intent to distribute lawyer to help you build a strong defense.