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What differentiates drug possession from distribution?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Drug Charges

Drug possession and possession with the intent to distribute are two separate offenses under Maryland law.

Suppose you’re facing drug charges. Understanding the difference between these charges is crucial because their penalties vary significantly.

What constitutes drug possession?

Drug possession charges involve the unlawful possession of controlled substances. Individuals may find themselves facing these charges if they are found with illegal drugs, such as narcotics or controlled prescription medications, without a valid prescription. The state’s legal system imposes varying penalties for drug possession based on factors like the type and quantity of the substance involved. Depending on how severe the offense is, penalties can range from fines to lengthy imprisonment.

Crossing the line to possession with intent to distribute

Possession with intent to distribute charges go beyond mere drug possession. Law enforcement looks for evidence suggesting that an individual not only had drugs but also intended to sell or distribute them. This may include the presence of scales, baggies or large amounts of cash, in addition to a significant weight of drugs.

The state’s law takes a harsh stance on drug possession with intent to distribute. Penalties can include substantial fines, lengthy prison sentences and a lasting impact on one’s criminal record. As is the case with drug possession, the severity of the punishment often correlates with the type and quantity of drugs involved.

Drug possession defenses

When facing drug possession charges, viable defenses may encompass challenging the legality of search and seizure efforts, asserting a lack of knowledge about a drug’s presence or presenting a valid prescription for controlled substances.

Essentially, mounting a defense against intent to distribute charges may involve disputing the prosecution’s evidence, challenging law enforcement procedures or demonstrating alternative explanations for the circumstances at issue.

The legal disparities between drug possession and possession with intent to distribute are significant. By comprehending the nuances of these charges and the potential consequences, individuals can take more effective proactive measures to help protect their rights and secure the best possible legal outcome for their circumstances.