Possession vs Possession With Intent to Sell: What You Need to Know About Drug Laws

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The possession of any controlled substance—aside from those accompanied by a valid prescription—is a crime in Virginia. This crime gets immensely more severe when the possession of a controlled substance also includes intent to sell.

What’s the difference?

The difference between these two charges comes down to the prosecutor’s ability to prove that you had the intent to sell the substance in your possession.

What Evidence is Necessary?

To be found guilty of possession with intent to sell, the prosecutor must be able to prove the following without doubt:

  • You knowingly possessed a substance you knew was illegal

  • You had a large enough amount of the drug to sell

  • You had the intent to sell the substance

Proving possession is a relatively simple task for a prosecutor, as they will be able to prove that you had the substance in your car, house, or pocket—virtually anywhere you have access. When speaking about your knowledge of the legality of the substance, often this will be proven by stating that you attempted to hide the drugs, tried to rid yourself of the evidence, or lied to the officer.

The last thing to prove is much more challenging, which is proving that you had the intent to sell the drug. Unless you confess and admit that you had the intent to sell the substance, all the prosecutor will have is circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence that must be inferred; essentially, it is evidence that is up for interpretation.

Some common circumstantial evidence includes:

  • Possessing large quantities of the drug

  • Possession of a scale

  • The drugs are packaged in smaller doses/bags

  • Possession of a large amount of cash (especially small bills)

  • Officers noted seeing many different people meeting at your home for short amounts of time

This is where the help of a qualified Virginia criminal defense attorney comes into play. A skilled attorney will be able to assist in getting your charges reduced from intent to sell to a simple possession charge.

How Can an Attorney Help?

A staunch criminal defense attorney, like Vaughan C. Jones, will be able to fight for you and help prove your innocence. Some of the ways a defense attorney may help reduce your case include arguing that:

  • It is common for regular drug users to stockpile their favorite drug

  • Typically, when buying large amounts of drugs, it is common for the drugs to be broken up into smaller doses

  • Scales are used frequently by users to ensure the correct amount is being purchased, in addition to tracking their consumption

  • Having a large amount of cash on hand is not a definitive sign of a drug dealer

If you’ve found yourself charged with possession or possession with intent to sell, Richmond criminal defense attorney Vaughan C. Jones may be able to help you. Call (804) 207-5735 today to begin fixing your life.

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