1. Home
  2.  - Wills and Probate

How do police determine intent to distribute?

by | Dec 27, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Those who are caught with illegal drugs are often simply charged with possession. For instance, you may not have a prescription for opioids, so you could be charged with possessing the pills, which are only supposed to be given out with a prescription. You can also get possession charges for things like marijuana, which remains illegal in Texas even as it becomes legal in other states throughout the country.

However, there is a chance that you could also be charged with the intent to distribute these illegal substances. This is a more serious charge that could have major ramifications on your life. For example, there are situations in which possession may have been a misdemeanor, but intent to distribute is a felony.

As such, you may be interested in how the police determine if you had the intent to distribute or not. You certainly didn’t tell them, so how did they decide that’s what you were going to do?

Evidence they seek

The first type of evidence the police look for is simply the amount of the substance that you have. If they believe that you have far more than you would use personally, then they will claim that the only logical reason you had it is because you were going to sell it to someone else.

The second type of evidence that they seek includes drug paraphernalia and other items that may show drug sales have taken place. For example, if someone is found with firearms in the car and large amounts of cash, the police may assume that they already sold some of the drugs they previously had. The cash is then viewed as evidence of this intent to distribute the rest.

You can see how problematic this could be, however. You may not have had any intent to distribute at all, but the police may claim that you did simply based on what they found in your vehicle during a traffic stop or what they discovered at your house during a search. You may not deny that possessing those substances was illegal, but that doesn’t mean that you should be charged with distributing or trafficking them if that’s not what you were doing.

As a result, if you do find yourself facing serious charges, it’s critical that you know about all of your defense options.