Are You Being Charged or Investigated for a Drug Crime in Federal or Louisiana State Court?
If you have recently been charged with possession with the intent to distribute, you need to enlist the assistance of an experienced New Orleans Drug Crimes Attorney immediately. Our firm has the experience and dedication required to take PWID charges head on. Click here to contact Attorney Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter.
Defending Against “Possession with the Intent to Distribute” Charges
Possession with the intent to distribute, or PWID as it is commonly known, is a serious charge and can result in long prison terms.
Possession with the intent to distribute offenses have three elements:
1.) That the defendant possessed a controlled substance, either actually or constructively;
2.) That the defendant did so with a specific intent to distribute the controlled substance; and
3.) That the defendant did so knowingly and intentionally.
How Can the Government Prove the Intent to Distribute?
Rarely does a PWID charge result from an actual drug transaction. If there is a transaction, then that defendant could be charged with distribution, rather than PWID. However, in cases where a defendant is found in possession of a large amount of controlled substance, prosecutors may try to prove the intent to distribute circumstantially.
Circumstantial evidence is different from direct evidence. Direct evidence tends to point to a suspect directly, such as an eyewitness account, fingerprint evidence, video tape recordings, etc. Circumstantial evidence relies on an inference or assumption. For Example:
Joe Bloe is caught crossing the US/Mexico border with 5 pounds of cocaine. The cocaine is divided into one ounce baggies. Joe Bloe has scales, extra baggies, razor blades, $45,000 cash, and two illegal guns in the car with him.
None of that evidence directly shows that Joe Bloe has the intent to distribute the cocaine. Direct evidence of his intent would be if he told the arresting officer that he intended to sell the drugs. Nevertheless, Joe Bloe may be charged with PWID because all of the other facts surrounding his arrest amount to circumstantial evidence that he had the intent to sell the drugs, rather than use them himself. In other words, a fact finder could reasonably conclude that Joe Bloe had the intent to distribute the drugs after excluding every reasonable hypothesis of innocence.
How to Defend Against PWID Charges
PWID cases are won and lost on the circumstantial evidence in the specific facts of the case. A good criminal defense attorney will challenge all evidence that the government tries to use to prove the intent to distribute.
Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will attempt to suppress the physical evidence of the contraband when possible. Without the actual contraband, the government has an incredibly difficult time proving any offense occurred.