Drug Possession Vs. Distribution

In Pennsylvania, there are critical distinctions between two types of illegal drug charges: Simple possession of a controlled substance, and possession with the intent to deliver or distribute.

When compared with simple possession, possession with the intent to distribute is a much more serious case. It could come with felony charges. If the court convicts you of a felony, that will impact your life much more than a lesser charge. For example, future employers could decide not to hire you just because of this type of conviction.

Depending on the type of drug, the type of possession, and the amount of the substance in question, you could be looking at a range of charges. Penalties also vary from relatively low fines and short stints in jail for simple possession to six-figure penalties and years of incarceration for proven intent to distribute.

The charges and penalties associated with intent to distribute are generally much steeper than those related to simple possession. It's key to know how police will decide which charge you merit - and how a skillful drug defense lawyer might build a strong case for a lesser charge.

Possession or Distribution: What's the Difference?

Many people believe that the difference between drug possession and possession with the intent to distribute comes down to quantities. For example: If the police find you with a large quantity of illegal substances, then you're going to face charges for distribution. If you're only caught with a small amount, then you face the lesser charge of simple possession.

In reality, it's not that simple. The difference between a charge of simple possession and intent to distribute depends on several factors at the time of the arrest. To charge you with intent to distribute, the police will need to have evidence of observed transactions or sales - preferably, eyewitness testimony. If that evidence exists, the quantity of illegal substance doesn't matter. You'll face charges for possession with the intent to distribute.

If there is no eyewitness evidence to prove your intent, the prosecution may try to argue that the presence of any sales-related paraphernalia suggests an intent to sell. Typical items of this nature include:

  • Large reserves of cash
  • Vacuum sealers
  • Plastic ziplock bags
  • Scales

In some cases, the prosecution might even call up a ‘drug expert' who will say, in his practiced opinion, that the co-existence of the paraphernalia with the drugs establish intent to sell.

Fortunately, your lawyer can take many steps on your behalf to demonstrate your innocence or argue for reduced charges. For example, suppose the police found the illegal substances and drug-related paraphernalia as a result of an illegal stop and search. In that case, your lawyer may be able to get that evidence against you completely thrown out.

The Best Drug Lawyer in PA is Ready to Help You

One thing is clear: If you face drug charges in Pennsylvania, you need a drug defense attorney that has experience successfully building customized, strong defenses for those who need help. Joseph D. Lento is that attorney. Contact the Lento Law Firm today or call 888.535.3686 for more information about how we can help you.

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu