Understanding possession with the intent to distribute

Pennsylvania residents may not know that drug charges don't just apply to people who are actively partaking in the use of drugs. There are laws that prevent possession or distribution which can have consequences that are just as damaging.

For example, FindLaw shows that being in the possession of drugs with the intent to distribute can be met with severe penalties under federal law. However, possession with the intent to distribute only applies in cases where both possession and intent to distribute are immediately present. Possession is determined by whether or not drugs are physically present with the person in question. They can be in the vehicle or home that's being searched, or they can be on their person.

Intent to distribute is determined by a few factors such as:

  • The amount of drugs on the person
  • The money they're carrying
  • Possible communications from customers
  • Packing materials
  • Other drug paraphernalia

As the intent to distribute can't be proven as cleanly as possession, police usually use context clues like this to determine if the intent is there. If both of these factors occur at the same time, a person can end up facing a possession with intent to distribute charge.

The Pennslyvania Department of Health has strict laws for controlled substances as well, reminding everyone that it isn't just people who possess and distribute illegal substances that can get into trouble. Possessing and distributing prescribed medications when not a doctor can also end in severe consequences if the person is convicted.

Those who are facing charges of possession with the intent to distribute may wish to examine their legal options. Otherwise, the consequences can be harsh and difficult for anyone to handle.

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