Possession with intent to distribute in Richmond involves being in possession of a sufficient amount of drugs for the government or the court to infer that there was an intent to distribute. This charge begins with the necessity that there is some amount of drug or controlled substance in an individual’s possession. How much that individual is actually in possession of will dictate what kind of charge they might receive. For example, if a person is in possession of marijuana that is less than or equal to 1/2 ounce, it can be no more than a misdemeanor charge. However, if they have from 1/2 ounce to 5 pounds, it is a Class 5 felony. If they have more than 5 pounds in their possession, they are guilty of an unclassified felony and can be imprisoned between 5 and 30 years.
If you are facing charges for possession with intent in Richmond, it is important to contact a Richmond drug lawyer immediately to ensure you receive a strong defense for your case and that the penalties for your case are minimized as much as possible.
Possession with intent is, in fact, frequently charged. In most cases where there is a sufficient quantity to meet the statutory requirement for possession with intent, the law enforcement in Richmond as well as the prosecutor’s office will charge the felony version rather than charging the misdemeanor possession version. There are some cases where law enforcement will exercise their discretion when it’s a relatively small amount to charge that as simple possession rather than possession with intent, but in most cases, law enforcement will simply charge the maximum charge they can and leave it to a prosecutor or a court to sort out whether a person may be guilty of a reduced charge or whether a plea bargain can be reached where the person will be found guilty of a reduced charge, assuming that there are no other strong defenses in their case which might cause them to be found not guilty.
Intent can be proven in a number of ways. No one can look inside of a defendant’s mind to know for sure what they intended. For this reason, the law says that we look at the facts and the circumstances that surround the possession and draw reasonable inferences from those facts.
One factor that looms very large in these kinds of cases is the quantity of drugs that the person is found to have in their possession. The larger amount of drugs the person has, the more difficult it becomes to argue that it was simply for personal use. It is much easier for the government to argue that such a large quantity can only be for distribution or sale rather than for personal use.
There are no first offender programs available in PWID cases. Possession with intent is a Class 5 felony at a minimum, no matter what kind of drug is at issue. Whereas a person could avail themselves of a first offender on a possession charge, there is nothing that exists like this for possession with intent. For this reason, in cases where it makes the most sense to try to resolve them by plea bargain, attorneys frequently strive very hard to have the charge amended from a possession with intent to a simple possession charge, so that the person can avail themselves of a first offender program.
It’s important to have an attorney when facing these kinds of charges because there are far reaching consequences to being convicted with possession with intent to distribute. Any felony charge is extremely serious because most employers and most schools as well as other organizations or groups that a person might wish to be part of, in most cases, will seriously consider disqualifying a person on the basis of a felony conviction. It is something that shuts a lot of doors in an individual’s life, and there is no reversing it short of a pardon from the governor. This has to be taken extremely seriously from the start.
In addition, cases of possession with intent are the type of matter where there are frequently a number of defenses which can be effectively served. Just because an individual is charged with these offenses does not at all mean that they’re going to find themselves convicted of these offenses. It is well worth the time, effort, and expense of engaging experienced counsel to fight aggressively on your behalf to avoid the very serious consequences of conviction of a possession with intent charge.
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