Possession with Intent to Distribute Defense Lawyer in Charleston, SC
Possession with intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, or meth is a step-up from simple possession charges.
The penalties are more severe than the penalties for simple possession, but they are the same as the penalties for drug distribution even though no distribution took place. There are different elements that the state must prove than in a simple possession or distribution case.
What type of evidence does the state need to prove PWID charges? What are the potential penalties, and what are the possible defenses to possession with intent to distribute in SC?
What is Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs in SC?
Most possession with intent to distribute cases are based on the drug weight – for example, SC law says that possession of more than one ounce of marijuana or more than one gram of cocaine creates an “inference” that you intended to distribute the drugs.
The inference is rebuttable – you can introduce evidence that the drugs were for personal use and you did not intend to distribute them (consider that this strategy, at best, will result in a conviction for simple possession).
The state must prove two things to convict you of PWID drugs:
- Possession – first, they must prove that you were in possession of the drugs. If their theory is “constructive possession,” meaning the drugs weren’t actually in your possession but they were nearby, they must also prove that you had control over the area where the drugs were found and that you knew the drugs were there; and
- Intent to distribute – it’s not enough that the drug weight was greater than the threshold amount, although that is evidence for jurors to consider. The state must also prove that you intended to distribute the drugs – otherwise, the offense should be reduced by the prosecutor, the court, or the jury to simple possession.
In most cases, the prosecutor will need to produce more evidence than the weight of the drugs to persuade jurors that you intended to distribute them – testimony from co-defendants, scales, baggies, ledgers showing drug sales, or other circumstances may tend to show an intent to distribute.
Penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute in SC
Possession with intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana carries a potential penalty of up to five years for a first offense. For a third offense, it carries a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison.
The penalties for possession with intent to distribute other types of drugs varies, but the most common include PWID cocaine, crack cocaine, or heroin, which have the same penalties, ranging from up to 15 years for a first offense to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to 30 years in prison for a third offense.
SC Possession with Intent to Distribute Defense Attorney in Charleston
If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or any other type of drug in Charleston, SC, we may be able to get your case dismissed, get your charges reduced to simple possession, or take your case to trial.
Call Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.