Possession with the intent to distribute is a serious crime that can apply to anyone in Maryland who intentionally has an illegal substance and plans to deal it. It's easier to understand this type of crime by breaking it down into different parts, the first of which is possession of a controlled substance. This particular charge goes beyond a person physically having an illegal substance in their hands or pockets. It extends to substances of this nature that may be in one's home or vehicle.
The possession element of drug charges that include intent to distribute typically extends to having prior to knowledge about a controlled substance or being expected to know that a certain substance, like cocaine, is illegal. With the distribution element, the prosecution needs to show that an individual was clearly planning to distribute drugs. In some situations, it may be assumed that a person was intending to sell illegal substances if they possessed an amount that was too large for personal use. The discovery of drug paraphernalia, large amounts of cash, packaging materials and communication from possible customers can also suggest an intent to distribute.
However, this charge is only considered valid if there is evidence of both possession of drugs and intent to distribute them. If, for instance, an individual is found to have only a small amount of a controlled substance that was intended for their personal use, they may be charged with possession only. Conspiracy to distribute is a related charge that may apply if it's discovered that a person had plans to distribute a substance they weren't yet in possession of at the time of arrest.
Because possession with intent to distribute charges can have serious consequences, it's advised that alleged offenders consult with legal counsel. Depending on the circumstances involved, a criminal lawyer might challenge the validity of the charges or make a case for entrapment. It may also be possible to suggest that a medical marijuana exception exists or argue that unlawful search and seizure may have occurred.