Texas has a reputation for enforcing its drug laws relatively strictly. Offenses that may only lead to tickets or that don’t even trigger prosecution in other states could be a felony in Texas. For example, simple possession of certain substances in questionable amounts can lead to significant consequences, as can allegations of manufacturing or trafficking.
There is also one type of criminal offense that falls in between trafficking and possession. Sometimes, the state will claim that someone possessed drugs with the intent to distribute them. Typically, the state will not have direct evidence that someone sold the drugs to others but will instead allege that they intended to do so.
What typically happens during a possession with intent case?
The defendant will face felony charges
Unlike simple possession, which can range from misdemeanor offenses to felony offenses, any case involving allegations of possession with intent to distribute the drugs will lead to felony charges. However, there are a variety of felony offenses possible. Possession of a small amount of substances that are of lower concern to state authorities might lead to state jail felony charges. Possession of Schedule I narcotics or large amounts of drugs could potentially lead to first-degree felony charges that could carry up to 99 years in state custody.
The state has to prove someone’s intent, not just possession
A prosecutor has more to establish in a possession with intent case. Not only do they need to prove that someone possessed illegal or controlled substances, but they also have to prove that there was an intent to distribute them to others. Sometimes, circumstantial evidence contributes to the establishment of criminal intent.
The state might claim that the possession of items that someone could use to weigh and repackage the drugs indicates an intent to repackage and sell what someone had. Someone’s criminal history and social behavior, including communications with those who have a connection to the drug trade, could also help a prosecutor develop their claim that someone possessed the drugs with the intent to distribute them to others.
Factors as simple as having a variety of different substances could raise questions about whether someone truly possessed those drugs for personal use or not. Thankfully, there are many ways for people facing allegations of possession with intent to distribute to defend against those charges. The state will have to give someone access to the evidence that the prosecutor will use in court, and a defendant can begin preparing a defense strategy based on how the state will develop its claims.