Being charged with drug possession is serious and can result in life-altering consequences for the individual being charged. Being charged with possession with intent to distribute is a felony crime. Not only could a person who is convicted of this be incarcerated, but when they are released from prison, they will have to find their way in society as a convicted felon.
If you find yourself charged with possession with intent to distribute, you need to contact an experienced attorney who works with drug cases. These lawyers can help you build a solid case and also serve as advocates for you.
How Is Possession with Intent Defined?
According to New York law, possession with the intent is the equivalent of intent to distribute. This is viewed as a class B felony. Punishment for this crime for the first offense could range between one to 9 years in prison. This law is codified in New York state law to 220 .16.
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th Degree is a lesser crime outlined by New York penal law 220.06. An experienced New York attorney who has dealt with drug possession or intent to distribute cases will understand what these charges mean and what steps can be taken to defend their clients against these charges.
What Does Law Enforcement Do in These Cases?
Law enforcement might be interested in whether or not the defendant had cash on them, how much cash they had, and what denominations they were carrying.
There are a number of methods that law enforcement may use to prove that someone was intending to sell drugs, even if they don’t actually see the person selling drugs and even if they are unable to arrest the buyer.
Some of the factors that may be used to defend a person who had no intent to sell include:
• A person’s past convictions or possession
• Carrying drug paraphernalia, like syringes
• A history of drug abuse
A New York drug lawyer may be able to mount a valid defense if the person had no intent to sell if certain factors are favorable.
What Does the Prosecution Do?
The prosecution is focused on identifying factors that prove that the defendant did not have drugs for personal use, but their intent was to sell. For the prosecutors, the controlled substance or drug does not matter. Their goal is the same.
During the trial, the DAs office will invite experts to testify. The expert may be a law enforcement official who has experience with the sale and distribution of controlled substances or narcotics. The officer, as the DA’s witness, will explain the language used on the street for certain drugs, the process of bundling drugs, and quantities at which drugs are distributed.
What Does Intent to Distribute Mean for Drug Possession Charges?
In New York, you can be charged with intent to possess and intent to distribute. Misdemeanor possession for personal use is a far lesser crime than felony possession with intent to distribute. A class B felony can result in up to nine years in prison. Even if the drug is not one that breaks New York penal law 220.16, being convicted of a lesser felony will impact your life, your career, and your family.
Potential Penalties Faced for Intent to Distribute
From the law’s standpoint, intending to sell drugs and actually selling drugs is the same thing when it comes to the penalty that can be imposed. A person who is at first arrested for a misdemeanor, violating NY PL 220.03, should be worried that the prosecution is going to believe that the individual was intending to sell, thereby elevating the crime to a felony, which could result in a person spending up to nine years in state prison and needing to reintegrate into society with a felony on their record.
In New York State, if a person is a drug addict and they want to break free, there are a number of programs and alternatives to prison that could be available. Using an attorney who does not understand these alternatives to incarceration could be detrimental to a person’s case. You want to work with an experienced drug possession attorney in New York. You want an attorney who understands the alternatives to prison for a person charged with intent.
In most cases, the New York District Attorney’s Office and the New York Police Department are not going to spend money and time investigating a person who is using drugs for personal use. Law enforcement is looking to catch the big fish. They are looking for people who are distributing drugs. They spend their money on investigation, surveillance, phone wiretaps, etc.
Investigations can last for as little as a few weeks or up to a number of years. The people who are the target of the investigation will not know that they are under investigation until law enforcement puts them in handcuffs and takes them before a judge.
Why You Need a Good Drug Attorney in New York
It is important that you work with a lawyer who understands the laws and statutes related to search and seizure. They need to know the different degrees of possession and sale and how these will impact potential jail sentences and fines. The only way that you can have a solid defense is by working with an experienced New York drug possession with intent to distribute attorney.