It is the distribution element that causes drug distribution charges to be taken more seriously than simple possession charges. Drug distribution charges have a broader impact in that by their very nature they involve more than one person. In addition, law enforcement and prosecutors are trying to stop the spread of drugs throughout northern Virginia. The logic is that if a person is distributing drugs, they could increase the number of people addicted to drugs. Because drug addictions are often a component of other offenses such as larceny or assault, prosecutors try to address this by penalizing those accused of distributing drugs.
If you facing drug distribution charges, you should reach out to a dedicated drug attorney today. A McLean drug distribution lawyer could fight for you and protect your rights.
There are a number of factors that can increase the severity of a drug distribution charge. These factors include the type of drug and the amount of drugs distributed. If a person is found to be in possession of a quantity of a drug greater than what is ordinarily possessed for personal use, the court will take this into consideration when determining if there is sufficient evidence of distribution or possession with intent to distribute. The court will consider evidence regarding the packaging of the drug and any cash the accused person may have possessed. Also, the court will review the presence or lack thereof of drug paraphernalia that is indicative of personal use or of distribution.
Law enforcement is cracking down on drug distribution. Task forces and designated units are being utilized to combat drug distribution. This typically means that specially trained officers and detectives who work primarily on drug cases investigate potential drug distribution cases. Law enforcement tends to recruit confidential informants to assist in gaining evidence against suspects.
Constitutional issues that tend to arise in drug distribution charges are usually under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which deals with searches and seizures. Drugs are often discovered as a result of law enforcement’s execution of a search warrant. Search warrants must be supported by probable cause and list with a specificity that the place(s) to be searched and the items to be seized. Where probable cause did not exist for a search warrant or where places are searched or evidence is seized outside of the limitations of the search warrant, a person, by counsel, may move to suppress said evidence. A seasoned drug distribution lawyer in McLean could review the case to determine if there are any constitutional issues with a defendant’s case.
The type of evidence the prosecution tends to rely upon for drug distribution charges is essentially the same evidence prosecutors rely upon in possession with intent to distribute charges except for the need to prove an actual distribution. The term “distribute,” when used by the General Assembly, has been interpreted to have the broadest possible meaning. Courts have interpreted this to include any delivery or transfer, actual or constructive, of possession or title to such drugs from one person to another. See Wood v. Commonwealth, 214 Va. 97, 197 S.E.2d 200 (1973).
There are certain elements of drug distribution charges that are highly contested at trial. These elements typically include:
The type of drug can be contested where the lab may have committed an error that lead to the misidentification of a substance. The person’s reason for possessing the drug and their intent regarding the drug are more so relevant in possession with intent to distribute cases but may still be raised in cases where the Commonwealth cannot prove an actual distribution occurred. The amount of the drug can be highly contested because distributing a drug above a certain quantity will trigger mandatory minimum prison sentences. The veracity of the Commonwealth’s witnesses is particularly contested in cases involving confidential informants. This is the case because many confidential informants may have a history of drug use or may have been offered some type of incentive such as a plea deal for their cooperation against an accused person.
A McLean drug distribution lawyer will have the knowledge, resources, and familiarity with the judges and prosecutors to help you with your case. The attorney will be able to discuss potential avenues to take and likely outcomes. Call today and set up a consultation.
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