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What Does "Possession with Intent" Mean?

In Nevada, it is a criminal offense to distribute a controlled substance or possess a drug with the intent to sell. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, a conviction for even a seemingly small amount of a drug can lead to years in prison, harsh fines, and a lasting mark on your criminal record. Possession with intent to sell is sometimes referred to as possession with intent to distribute or for the purpose of sale. A person can be charged with intent to sell even if no sale ever took place.

How Is "Possession with Intent" Proven?

In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant (1) was in possession of the controlled substance and (2) had intent to sell. Simple possession can occur as “actual” possession when a defendant is found with drugs on their person or as “constructive” possession when drugs are found in a location directly controlled by the defendant. It also must be proven that the defendant was knowingly in possession of the drugs in question. “Intent” can be difficult to quantify as the sale does not need to physically occur. In court, intent to sell is determined through corroborating and circumstantial evidence indicating that the defendant was clearly planning to distribute or sell the drugs in question.

The prosecution will look at details such as:

  • The amount of a drug: Possession with intent can be a crime of weights and measurements. If a defendant is found with an amount of a drug that can be deemed greater than what is intended for personal use, intent to sell can be argued.
  • Possession of large amounts of money: Although there are many reasons a person may have large amounts of cash on hand, a prosecutor may argue that the money came from or is intend for future drug sales. The prosecution may also look to see if the currency was in small bills.
  • Method of storage: A person with intent to sell may store the drug in such a way which lends itself to distribution such as in small baggies or premeasured amounts.
  • Possession of paraphernalia: In some cases, possession of paraphernalia can itself constitute a crime, however, it can also be a factor in deciding intent. Law enforcement may look for items such as scales, pipes, or syringes.

Secure an Award-Winning Criminal Defense Attorney

The circumstantial nature of possession with intent to sell demands the attention of a skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. If you have been accused of a drug crime, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of David R. Fischer. Our lead attorney focuses exclusively on criminal defense and has years of experience defending clients against the most serious of drug charges. See what our past clients have to say about the level of care and legal advocacy they received.

Call today and begin building a powerhouse defense.