When police officers find drugs in someone’s vehicle, in their house or on their person, they will usually charge the individual with a drug offense. Most people who allegedly own prohibited or controlled substances will face charges of possession.
However, in some cases, the state may charge someone with possession with intent to deliver. Essentially, the charge is for those who would have sold the drugs if the police hadn’t intercepted them.
While possession is the mildest drug crime available, possession with intent is a more serious offense. It carries bigger penalties and more social stigma. How do police officers and prosecutors try to prove possession with intent to deliver?
Previous criminal history
Someone has already gotten arrested for drug trafficking or distribution in the past, that earlier activity can make allegations that someone possessed a drug with the intent to distribute it seem more credible even with no other concrete evidence.
When the police suspect someone of distributing drugs or involvement in some kind of drug trafficking operation, they will often monitor that individual’s behavior or social activity. If you have frequent contact with known drug dealers or addicts, that could help the state build a case against you.
Especially if your interactions with them are brief but frequent, that behavior couldn’t make it look like a history of drug transactions. The use of drug slang online or in text messages could also implicate you in some cases.
Paraphernalia and packaging
When police arrest someone for the possession of a drug, they often find other items in their possession that can add to the charges.
Paraphernalia used to weigh, cut or store drugs can make someone look like a drug dealer, even if such tools are common sense even for people buying for personal use. Someone carrying items like postal scales or other suspected drug paraphernalia may increase the suspicion of law enforcement regarding their intention with those drugs.
The way someone stores the drugs will matter too. The more packages of drugs or individual units a person has of the time of their rest, the more it might look like they intended to sell small amounts to multiple people.
Factors ranging from having cash in your house to the very questionable testimony of a confidential informant could contribute to the state’s allegation that someone possessed drugs not for personal use but rather with the intention of distributing them to other people.
Understanding how the state starts to build a case against you can help you strategize for your defense. Fighting back against pending drug charges typically requires careful planning and analysis of the evidence.