Ocean City Drug Possession vs Intent to Distribute
Possession with intent to distribute means that a person has a drug not for personal use, but rather with the intent to parcel it out and sell it. The charge is determined by the amount in question and other factors found by the investigator. However, there are two elements that must be in place for someone to be convicted.
The first thing that has to be proven is that the person possesses the drugs. The second element to be proven is that the individual intends to distribute the substance.
This second element is what differentiates possession with intent to distribute from regular possession charges and raises the level of offense from a simple misdemeanor to a felony. In either case, it is essential to contact a drug possession attorney as soon as possible, as one with experience in this exact area will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that the absolute best defense possible is prepared for you.
Origin of Charges
Typically, in cases where an individual is facing these charges, the police made contact with the person because of a tip. Sometimes it just so happens that a law enforcement officer stops a car for a traffic violation, which then escalates into an investigation for drugs, depending on what the officer sees in the car during the stop.
A person can expect to at least be charged with misdemeanor possession if they have any sort of illegal substance. Beyond that, if any of the circumstances suggests that the substance in question is for more than just their personal use, the charge with possession with intent to distribute is going to be added. In that case, that person would have two charges instead of one charge, because for every charge of the felony for a possession with intent to distribute there is the included lesser crime of simple possession.
Who determines what the person should be charged with is often the law enforcement investigating the case. It could be a patrol officer in contact with the person, making the determination that the person possessed drugs with the intent to distribute them. That officer’s decision is then reviewed by the district court commissioner.
Ultimately, it is the determination by the district commissioner as to whether or not there is a probable cause to charge the person with all of the offenses misdemeanors and felonies.
Once the charge has been made official and a trial date has been set, then it would be up to a jury at a trial to determine if the person possessed it, and if they did possess it, what their intent was.
It is possible for someone to be charged with both simple possession and possession with intent to distribute, and more, but it depends entirely on the facts of each case. For example, in a scenario where the police are observing somebody who it has been suggested to them is possibly selling drugs, they may make the decision to observe and make contact with buyers. By doing so, the police may be able to prove that the person was distributing, using their firsthand experience and observations as supporting evidence.
In other words, they are observing what appears to be drug deal, making contact with buyer, and confirming that drugs were bought from the defendant. If, when they make the arrest, that person is found to be in possession of a large amount of drugs, it is possible to be charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution.
It does frequently happen that charges escalate from simple possession to possession with intent. Law enforcement officers can be expected to levy charges for everything that they think may be applicable. The evidence and the facts drive what the police officers end up charging.
For example, if a person possesses small amount of marijuana, more than likely they are going to be charged with simple possession of the drug. On the other hand, if the same person is found to be in possession of two gallon-sized baggies of the same substance, then law enforcement would charge that as a possession with intent to distribute.
How A Drug Attorney Can Help
It is essential to reach out to a lawyer experienced in Ocean City drug possession cases, whether they be listed as Simple or With Intent To Distribute. Given how easily these charges can escalate, having an attorney with extensive experience in the legal and jurisdictional area will be a tremendous help as a defense is built.