Drug crimes have been topics of contention for many years in Atlantic City and throughout the country. Many drug-related offenses are punished quite harshly, but the offense of possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) may be penalized with particularly harsh punishments. The authorities are keen on apprehending drug offenders who have controlled substances in their possession and distribute them to others. With the ever-growing problem of opioid addiction in the United States today, law enforcement tends to crack down hard on drug offenders they suspect are dealing.
Defendants charged with PWID should be concerned because they may face very harsh penalties, including years in prison and steep fines, depending on their circumstances. Your exact charges and penalties will depend on what drugs were in your possession and their quantities. Differentiating penalties for possession with intent to distribute from ordinary possession involves examining the amount of drugs in your possession. It also involves proving you had the intent to distribute or share those drugs with others.
If you have been charged with PWID it is of the utmost importance that you seek advice from a skilled lawyer. Our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers can help you clear your name or at least downgrade your charges. Talk to our team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych in a free legal consultation about your case. Call (609) 616-4956 to get help today.
Charges for Possession with Intent to Distribute in Atlantic City
Charges for possession with intent to distribute apply in cases where a person in possession of controlled substances is found to have been planning to sell, share, or otherwise distribute the drugs. These charges vary depending on what kind of drugs were in the defendant’s possession and the amount of drugs involved. More serious drugs, like heroin or other Schedule I or II drugs, will result in more serious charges and penalties. Controlled substances that are less serious, including Schedule III, IV, and V drugs, may lead to somewhat less severe charges.
Although law enforcement tends to associate larger quantities of drugs and controlled substances with illegal distribution, there is no legal minimum quantity for you to be charged. The authorities may still attempt to charge you with PWID even for very small quantities of controlled substances. In that case, our Atlantic City possession with intent to distribute defense attorneys can help you fight or downgrade your charges.
How is Possession with Intent to Distribute Different from Ordinary Possession in Atlantic City?
Possession with intent to distribute is different from ordinary possession because the latter requires the defendant to have the intent to sell or share the drugs with others. These offenses are charged more harshly because people who distribute drugs are often blamed for spreading and exacerbating addiction and substance abuse problems.
Ordinary possession is different because it is sometimes referred to as a “victimless crime.” A defendant convicted of ordinary possession has not harmed another person but has instead committed an act against society.
Defendants charged with PWID, however, do not commit victimless crimes. The people they sell to and share the drugs with are often considered the “victims” because the defendant is feeding into and profiting from their illicit drug habits.
If you are charged with PWID, our lawyers can help you. Call our Atlantic City possession with intent to distribute defense attorneys for assistance with your case.
Determining a Defendant’s Intent to Distribute in Atlantic City
A key element of charges for possession with intent to distribute is proving that the defendant intended to distribute or sell the drugs in their possession. The charges for this offense do not require a certain minimum quantity of drugs or controlled substances, although that may be taken into consideration. Numerous additional factors may be used to prove a defendant’s intent to distribute.
Intent to distribute drugs is not spelled out in the law, and it can be proven in any number of ways. For example, if the police witness a drug transaction, they can charge a defendant with PWID. It is not uncommon for police officers to go undercover, posing as drug buyers to find dealers selling drugs.
However, the authorities and prosecutors do not need evidence that a drug transaction even occurred to secure a conviction. Suppose the police arrest a defendant with drugs on them, and those drugs are packaged in a way that indicated they were meant for sale or distribution. In that case, that defendant may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. For example, heroin packaged in multiple, small, sealed plastic baggies could indicate that the possessor meant to sell the drugs rather than use them.
If you are charged with a drug-related offense, our Cape May criminal defense lawyers can help you. Call our offices for help fighting your charges.
Penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute in Atlantic City
The penalties for charges for PWID will vary depending on the types of drugs in question and the quantities of drugs involved. More serious drugs and higher quantities of certain drugs will lead to increased charges.
Possession with intent to distribute charges involving heroin or other similarly serious drugs in quantities of at least 5 ounces may be met with charges for a first-degree crime. Such an offense may be punished by at least 10 years but no more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Additionally, your prison term may come with a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the total sentence imposed with no possibility of parole.
Different controlled substances will lead to different levels of charges. Charges for possession with the intent to distribute other types of drugs could result in charges for second-, third, and fourth-degree crimes. These charges could be punished by prison terms of at least 5 years but no more than 10 years, or at least 3 years but no more than 5 years, respectively. Charges for a fourth-degree crime may be punished by a prison term of no more than 18 months. The fines for these charges can exceed tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Remember, you can be charged with PWID even for very small amounts of drugs. However, larger quantities may provide more solid grounds for PWID charges and could lead to more severe charges in some cases. Call our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers for help handling your case.
Call Our Atlantic City Defense Lawyers for Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges
If you are charged with a drug offense, our Atlantic City possession with intent to distribute defense attorneys can help you effectively fight your case. Arrange a free, private legal consultation with our team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.