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Proving an intent to distribute controlled substances

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2022 | Criminal Law |

Drug charges in Mississippi are serious. Should law enforcement discover controlled substances in your ownership, they may charge you with misdemeanor possession crimes. Other charges, however, are much more serious.

In some cases, officials gather evidence that indicates an intent to distribute controlled substances, elevating a misdemeanor possession charge to a felony crime. This evidence is crucial to the prosecution’s case, regardless of the quantity or potential means to distribute.

Proving intent to distribute

According to the Mississippi Health Code Section 41-29-139, it is unlawful to both possess and dispense any illegal controlled substances, even if not exchanged for anything in return. In order to succeed with a felony charge against you, law enforcement must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs in your ownership were not only for your own personal use.

This proof is largely accomplished by either direct or circumstantial evidence, such as:

  • A witnessed transaction or sale
  • Distributing substances to an undercover officer
  • Admissions or statements of intent to sell or distribute
  • Large quantities of controlled substances
  • Packing materials, including scales, small bags and boxes

Law enforcement may gather multiple pieces of evidence to support a distribution charge, including large amounts of cash or weapons found in your possession, and use this information to build a case.

Drug possession charges

To fight a felony distribution drug charge against you, it is important to assemble a complete case to challenge the evidence. A legal drug crime defense may include assertions that the substances were only for individual use, that an illegal search occurred or that the substances did not belong to you at all.

While criminal charges may still pertain to you, it may be possible to receive only misdemeanor charges instead of federal charges that carry more severe penalties.