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What is possession with intent to distribute?

There are many residents of Memphis who have been charged with a drug crime. Drug crimes can bring serious consequences to those who are convicted. One drug crime that is commonly mentioned is possession with the intent to distribute. So what does intent to distribute mean?

When a person is charged with possession with intent to distribute they can face fines and prison time. There are three elements of the crime of possession with intent to distribute that must be present in order for the person to be charged. Possession means that the controlled substances are within the person's control. The drugs don't necessarily have to be on the person. The drugs can be in their car, their home or their business. In most cases the person must know that the drugs are present.

The second essential element that must be proven is the intent to distribute. This means that the person who possesses the drugs was planning to sell them. This is generally inferred when the amount of drugs is more than what a person would use for their own personal consumption. Drug paraphernalia including packaging materials, lots of money and customer communication can also lead prosecutors to infer the intent to distribute. Finally, both possession and the intent to distribute must have occurred at the same time.

If a person finds themselves charged with this serious crime they may want to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can help their client tell their side of the story, negotiate with the prosecution and make sure their client's rights are being protected.

Source:, "Possession with the intent to distribute", accessed on Nov. 22, 2015

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