Determining Intent in Ocean City PWID Cases
In order to determine intent, the officers conducting the investigation will look for some very specific facts or clues to assess intent. One of those would be the packaging of an item. For example, if a person is stopped or their apartment is searched, and the officer finds not just the substance but also materials used to package the substance into individual packages, scales or tally sheets, or anything else that makes it seem as though they were planning to distribute this substance they could be charged with possession with intent to distribute in Ocean City. It is quite common for law enforcement to request a search and seizure warrant in order to further investigate someone they suspect of selling illegal substances.
All of the aforementioned factors are normally used to determine intent to distribute in Ocean City. What happens a lot now is that people send a lot of text messages, and the police officers can get a warrant to seize the individual’s phone. Once the police have a warrant, they can search the phone and read a person’s text messages. If the individual’s phone has a lot of text messages on it about people contacting them to make purchases or any information like that, it could be used against them at trial.
In addition to the amount of the substance in question, law enforcement also takes into consideration whether the circumstantial evidence points to the intent to distribute. This is because intent cannot be proven with any sort of direct evidence. Rather, it is proven by other indicators found in and around the area being searched. These other indicators include but are not limited to the presence of:
- Packaging materials
- Scales for weighing the item
- Large amounts of money
- Text messages suggesting an intent to distribute
Also, it may be important what the police do not find. If they do not find any sort of smoking device or any other device that a person would use to ingest the drug to make the argument that it is clearly not possession with the intent for them to use it, then they infer that it is their intent to distribute it.
If a case is going to court and the crime is possession with intent to distribute, it is very common for the state attorney’s office to list a law enforcement officer as a witness who will give expert testimony in this area.
This type of expert witness is typically someone who has worked for several years in narcotics investigations, and they will determine what elements they found that led them to believe that this substance was possessed with the intent to distribute it in Ocean City.
Constructive possession means that the drug was not found on the person, but was found in an area where the defendant exercises some type of dominion or control. A perfect example of that would be items that are found in the center console of a car. It is possible that everyone in the vehicle could be charged with possession of those drugs, and anybody who was able to access that center console could be convicted, whether or not they own those drugs, because the crime is possession, not ownership.
What often happens in Ocean City is a drug is found in a common area like the living room area or in the kitchen area, and any number of the people who were renting that house or that apartment had access to that area, so they all could end up being charged with possession.
Alternative Remedies to a Charge
It is possible, but not very probable, that a person who was being sentenced on a possession with intent to distribute charge in Ocean City would be offered an alternative remedy like drug court. The defendant would have to be able to prove that they possessed the drug and sold it to feed their own addiction.
Those situations do arise where someone possesses the drug that they are addicted to and also sells it in order to support their habit. If they are able to show that they are using and that they have the drugs in their system, it is possible that they could end up being offered drug court, but it is much more likely for a person who has been charged with misdemeanor possession to be offered drug court because of the facts.