When a person has been arrested for drug possession, the arresting officers will determine whether the charge will be drug possession, or drug possession with intent to sell. To make the determination, officers will look at the facts.
A simple drug possession charge, while taken seriously by courts, will yield a lesser penalty than when there is an intent to sell. Therefore, it is always better when the charge is just drug possession and the officers determine there is no intent to sell.
Officers will survey the situation, taking all things at the crime scene into account. Let’s take an example. Officers come into a person’s house and arrest them for drug possession. In the home there are many baggies or drugs, each measured in the same amount. There are also many scales scattered throughout the room and bundles of cash. It is safe to assume that the person charged was not only using drugs for their own possession, but had the intent to sell. The facts, measured bags, vast amounts of cash, indicate that the drugs were not simply for personal use.
In comparison, consider a second example. Officers enter a home and find the person using illegal drugs in his home. There is drug paraphernalia in front of him on the table, and a container with a couple ounces of the substance. In this situation, it seems that the drugs were used by the person alone. There are no facts or indicators that point to another reasonable conclusion. In this scenario, he will likely be charged with possession, and not an additional intent to sell.
It is important to remember that in drug cases, there are several defenses available. If officers obtain the evidence or enter a person’s home without a search warrant, or reasonable circumstances it could be a violation of the person’s Fourth Amendment rights. If there is indeed a violation, then the exclusionary rule applies, which will exclude the evidence from trial.
Additionally, if the drug you are charged with is marijuana, there may be changes in law that would make it nothing more than an infraction. If the person holds a valid medical marijuana card, they may also have a valid defense in State criminal cases.
The difference between drug possession and intent to sell could mean jail time and longer probation. The facts must be demonstrate that there was an intent to sell beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be found guilty. There is a lot of subjectivity and a lot of the evidence depends on who strong of an argument is presented by defense or by prosecutors.
Consulting a Los Angeles Drug Possession Lawyer is a good idea. They can explain to you how strong your case is for intent to sell, and what the chances are that it could be reduced to a simple drug possession. Additionally, they are able to assess the facts of your case to determine whether there is a defense that could work in your favor so that you case may be dismissed.