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What is evidence of intent to distribute?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Drug charges become much more serious when the authorities believe there is an intent to distribute. Even in cases where possession itself would still be illegal – such as possessing marijuana for recreational purposes – the intent to distribute can bring about more strict ramifications. The potential sentence that a person faces could be much more severe than if they were merely charged with possession itself.

One way that the authorities determine if someone had the intent to distribute is by looking at the amount of illegal substances they had. In some cases, they will determine that it is simply too much for personal use, so sales must have been inevitable. 

But this is somewhat controversial because it is a judgment call, rather than something based on actual facts. The authorities are assuming how much of a substance someone would want to have for personal use. They don’t actually know. So what other evidence do they use?

3 more sources of evidence

First of all, the authorities will often look for other materials beyond the substances themselves. For instance, if they find drug paraphernalia and baggies for packaging the substances, then they may believe that the person intended to distribute those substances eventually.

On top of that, electronic evidence may play a role. The authorities will sometimes get a warrant to search someone’s phone for text messages from potential customers, for example.

Furthermore, investigators may look for evidence that sales have already been completed. If someone is arrested with drugs and a very large amount of money, such as hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, that can also be used as evidence of distribution.

If you are facing such serious charges, it’s crucial to know what legal options you have, which may include seeking lesser charges when possible.