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Understanding possession with intent to deliver charges

On Behalf of | May 22, 2020 | Drug Charges |

Sometimes law enforcement will go beyond charging a person with simple possession of illegal drugs. Instead of having the drugs for personal use, the individual may intend to distribute the drugs to one or more people. If a prosecutor has reason to believe this is the case, the prosecutor may charge the person with possession with intent to deliver.

As explained by FindLaw, a possession with intent to deliver charge involves two key components. First, a person guilty of this crime must possess the drugs. Secondly, the person should intend to distribute them.

Defining drug possession

The law does not define drug possession as only when illegal substances are in the clothing or elsewhere on a person. The drugs should be within the control of an individual, meaning a person can access the drugs anytime when desired. So law enforcement may determine someone possesses drugs if they find them inside of a house, a car, or a place of storage owned by that person.

Defining intent to deliver

An intention to deliver or distribute drugs is not something the government can tell by reading the mind of a person. Law enforcement will look at the available evidence to discern whether a person truly intended to distribute the drugs. Police might assume that if someone has more of a drug than that person can personally use, that person intends to sell the drugs.

Police may examine other evidence that could indicate a desire to distribute drugs. A person who wants to distribute drugs will likely have the means to package it or have communications from interested buyers. Police may also discover a large cache of money, indicating a drug sale has taken place.

Imposing punishment for the charge

Nebraska, like other states, criminalizes drug possession with an intent to deliver, imposing heavy punishments if the state convicts a person of this charge. Depending on the kind of drug a person possesses and the amount of the drug, an individual could face a Class IB, IC or ID felony, which could put someone in jail for three, five, or even twenty years.

Different factors can make drug charges more severe, so understanding what makes an intention to deliver charge is important. If the legal counsel of a person accused of this crime can establish there was no intention to distribute a drug, it can weaken the case against that person and decreased the odds of a hefty sentence.