How Virginia Beach Prosecutors Build Possession With Intent to Distribute Cases

Prosecutors treat drug-related crimes very seriously in Virginia. Below, a possession with intent lawyer in Virginia Beach talks about how law enforcement officers and prosecutors develop possession with intent to distribute cases.

Virginia Beach law enforcement officers will charge someone with intent whenever there is evidence at all to suggest intent. Whether the charge will result in a conviction in a trial or will be reduced to simple possession depends on how strong the evidence is. First, right from the beginning however, they don’t give most people any leniency if there is a possibility of giving them a higher charge of intent.

How Does the Government Prove “Intent?”

Generally, the government proves intent by circumstantial evidence, which is going to vary from case to case. Examples of circumstantial evidence of possession with intent to distribute are having an amount of the drug more than what is deemed reasonable for them to have if they were just a simple user, or possessing a large amount of cash or having something like a list of names and phone numbers where the drugs were located, or possessing materials used for distributing drugs. These materials could include things such as baggies for packaging drugs, or scales. Also, this can include actual possession of these things, or constructive possession.

What is Constructive Possession?

Constructive possession is when drugs are found in or on someone’s property rather than directly on their person, and that person is found to have knowledge of the presence of the drugs and the ability to exercise control over the drugs.

Implications of constructive possession when people are charged with possession with intent is that someone can be charged even if they don’t admit that the drugs belong to them and if the drugs aren’t on them and if they weren’t the ones to put the drugs there in the first place.

The prosecutor just has to show that the defendant knew that the drugs were there under the circumstances and had the ability to exercise control over the drugs.

How Is This Fair to the Defendant?

It is not really entirely fair to the defendant because they could be charged with possession with intent even if they never followed through with the alleged intent or they were just maybe thinking about it. It is also possible that someone is charged with intent when they just happen to have a lot of drugs.

There are other explanations for having a large quantity, such as because they buy them in bulk because there is a discount, or they have a big tax return, or they came across a good amount of money or got a good deal. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to support a charge of possession with intent that could actually be meaningless and have nothing to do with someone’s true intent.