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What you should know about possession with intent to distribute

In Middlesex County, and New Jersey in general, drug charges can come with some very severe consequences. This is especially true when what might have been a basic possession charge becomes possession with intent to distribute. There are three elements that must exist in order for a "possession with the intent to distribute" charge to be valid under federal law.

If you are facing a possession with the intent to distribute charge, it is important to understand all the factors involved. Read below to learn more about the different elements that make up this particular drug charge.

Possession of a controlled substance

In general, possession of a controlled substance can include drugs you have physically on your person or drugs that are in your control. This means that if the police find drugs in your hands, pockets, backpack or even your home or your car, you could end up facing charges for possession of an illegal substance. Keep in mind that you have to know about the drugs. For example, if a police officer pulls you over and your friend in the backseat stashes marijuana in the vehicle, you might be able to defend yourself in court by claiming you did not know the drugs were present.

Intent to distribute or sell

If a New Jersey court charges you with intent to distribute a controlled substance, then the prosecution must be able to prove that such an intent existed at the time of your arrest. While it is impossible to prove what your thoughts were at the time, certain circumstances may provide enough evidence for a jury to pass down a conviction: for example, if the amount of drugs in your possession were too much for personal use or there was paraphernalia present such as packing supplies present.

Possession with intent

In order for possession with the intent to distribute to exist, both possession and the intent to distribute must have happened in the same instance. This means that if you only had enough marijuana on your person for your own use, it will be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that you intended to distribute or sell the drugs. Before the state or federal government can charge you with possession with the intent to distribute, you must have both a significant quantity of the drugs and evidence of your intent to sell the substance.

If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, intent to distribute or possession with the intent, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. You may be able to successfully fight back against the charges in court and avoid paying high fines and serving a lengthy prison sentence.

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