When does simple possession become possession with intent?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Drug Crimes

It is against the law in Georgia to possess substances prohibited by law, such as heroin and methamphetamine. It is also illegal to possess controlled substances, like prescription narcotics, without a recommendation from a physician. Those accused of violating state drug laws will likely end up facing criminal charges.

The most basic drug offense prosecuted in Georgia involves the simple possession of a prohibited or controlled substance. Either having those drugs in one’s bloodstream or having physical possession of them can be enough to warrant criminal charges. Oftentimes, basic possession charges are classified as misdemeanor offenses. However, sometimes prosecutors accuse someone of having possession with the intent to distribute or traffic drugs, which could result in felony charges.

Details affect criminal cases

From exactly what the police find when they arrest someone to how the prosecutor interprets the situation, there are many different factors that can lead to the state pursuing charges more serious than simple possession after a drug arrest. The schedule classification of the drugs will determine what charges the state will pursue. Allegations of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I or II drug could lead to up to 30 years in prison or more if someone has a prior conviction on their record.

In many cases, the charges stem from someone having a large amount of drugs in their possession or possibly a wide variety of different substances. Other times, it might be other items in their possession, such as scales or packaging, that makes police believe their intention is to distribute those drugs. Someone’s prior criminal record and even their social contacts could make them seem more likely to be involved in drug trafficking. Messages sent on social media or via SMS text messages could also provide the prosecution with support for their claim that someone has previously distributed drugs or intended to do so with what officers found in their possession.

There is no one specific factor that automatically turns a possession charge into a possession with intent offense, which means there is no single defense strategy that works in every case. Reviewing the state’s evidence and the circumstances of someone’s arrest with the assistance of an experienced attorney can be a good starting point for those hoping to fight back again Georgia drug charges.