What is Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute in New Jersey?
Drug possession with intent to distribute is a crime with two simple elements — the first being the actual possession of illegal drugs and the second being a demonstrable intent to sell those substances to other people.
Per New Jersey law, drug possession means that a suspect was allegedly in physical possession of drugs when apprehended. There are situations, however, in which a person may be charged with possession of a controlled substance when not actually in physical possession of it. These situations arise when drugs are found on a person’s property and the person had knowledge of the drugs’ presence.
Law enforcement authorities determine if there was the intent to sell drugs based on circumstantial evidence. For example, a quantity of drugs greater than what would be reasonable if it were only for personal use could be enough to show that a person intended to sell or distribute to others. Additionally, the presence of any packaging paraphernalia or large amounts of cash could indicate an intent to sell. Circumstantial evidence like this is not needed in cases where the alleged perpetrator attempts to sell drugs to an undercover police officer.
Potential penalties are serious
The penalties for a conviction of possession with intent to sell are much harsher than penalties for simple drug possession. It is often classified as a felony, which means penalties include large fines, potential prison time and probation. These penalties may become even more severe if the convicted person has a criminal history, especially related to previous drug crimes.
The most common defense strategy against possession with intent to distribute is a lack of possession. Prosecutors must prove the defendant illegally possessed a controlled substance, which isn’t always easy. Your defense lawyer may argue that you had no intent to sell the drugs. A lack of the circumstantial evidence would help this argument.
For more information on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, speak with a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman by calling 215-563-7100 or contacting us online.