Carl Barkemeyer wrote the book on How to Defend Drug Charges in Louisiana. Download your free copy to learn more about the criminal process and drug defenses in Louisiana.
People who are arrested for simple possession of drugs are often seen as drug users or drug addicts. However, those who possess the drugs but also have an intent to distribute are seen as drug dealers. This makes it a very serious offense before the law and with severe consequences. People who are charged with the offense of possession with intent to distribute also include the manufacturer or producer, transporter, seller and any other person who gets the drugs to the final buyer.
The possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute is a very serious offender under federal and state law. To understand everything the offense entails, it would be broken down into three parts.
1. Possession of drugs
2. Intent to distribute
Before anyone can be convicted or found guilty of this crime, it has to be proven that the first two parts were committed simultaneously. The aspect of being committed simultaneously is timing. Let's dive deeper into it.
1. The Possession Of Drugs
This is the first element of the two sides. Now, note that the drugs in question are supposed to be controlled substances or illegal drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and so on. Controlled substances have different levels such as Schedule I drugs, Schedule II, III and so on. The schedule of each drug one was found in possession of also determines the severity of the crime.
Also, note that possession doesn't just mean the drugs would be or was found in your pocket or purse. It could be that the drugs Steve within your control, such as finding it in your car or house. Before you can be convicted though, you need to have the knowledge or be aware that the drugs are present. If you have no idea that the drugs were there, then you can use it as a defense in court. However, some courts will charge you, saying you should have known or that you're supposed to know that the drugs were there. This differs from state to state though.
2. The Intent To Distribute
This is the second element which must also be proven that the person actually had an intention to distribute or sell the drugs. Now, you may be wondering how intentions can be known. Well, if a person is possessing too much for personal use, there must be something to it. Also, if the person is searched and found with items such as large amounts of money, weighing scales, plastic bags for packaging and so on, then it is certain.
3. The Timing
This is the third and final element. You should note that the crime cannot be said to have occurred when the possession of drugs didn't happen at the same time with the intent to distribute. For instance, if someone has an intention to sell some grams of heroin but hasn't gotten the drugs yet, he or she can't be charged with the offense. This is because there was no possession of drugs.
Therefore, the possession of drugs and the intent to distribute have to be together before one is found guilty of the crime.
Usually, drug crimes are very serious offences under the Louisiana State law. Now, simple possession of drugs can be a misdemeanor. The charges can be affected by the type of illegal drugs you're found with. The court will also check whether it's you're a first-time offender or it is a subsequent one. However, possession with intent to distribute is a felony, especially if the drugs you're found with is a Schedule I drug. Your charges can be increased if there are any other aggravating factors.
The Louisiana State law explains that a person who produces, manufactures or possesses a dangerous controlled substance with the intent to distribute or dispense is guilty of the offense of PWID (Possession With Intent to Distribute).
As the offense for possession of drugs with intent to distribute is a serious one, so is the penalty. The penalty may be given according to the type and amount of drugs you were found with. If a person is found with a Schedule I drug such as heroin or cocaine with a weight of fewer than 28 grams, he or she will serve a jail term of not less than one year and not more than ten years. This goes along with a fine of not more than 50,000 dollars.
If the weight of the drugs is more than 28 grams, the offender will serve a jail term of not less than one year and not more than twenty years with hard labor. This goes with a fine of not more than 50,000 dollars.
If you or your loved one has been arrested at charged with possession with intent to distribute, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you're facing a trial at the Calcasieu Parish Court, then you need a possession with intent to distribute lawyer in Lake Charles. Your drug defense lawyer will let you know the severity of your crime and also let you know of possible defenses.
In all, you need a criminal defense attorney to help you with legal advice as well as represent you in court during your trials.
If you need the best possession with intent to distribute criminal defense lawyer in Lake Charles, do well to reach out to us. Carl Barkemeyer has helped a lot of people in Louisiana with their drug offenses. Immediately you're arrested, call for our assistance. We aim to help you get reduced or dismissed charges.
We acknowledge that going to jail for a long time changes the lives of so many people. This is why we try as much as possible to help people out and represent them well in court.