Most Tennessee residents know that the mere possession of an illegal drug may be enough to land them in jail after a criminal conviction. However, a possession charge may be the lesser of their worries if they are also charged with an offense related to an intent to distribute an illegal drug. This post will briefly discuss the difference between these two types of charges and the elements that prosecutors must satisfy in order to prevail on their accusations.
A drug possession charge is based on a person's alleged possession of an illegal substance. The substance may be on their person or in their possession indirectly, such as in their vehicle or packed into their bag. It is often the case that law enforcement officials claim they find an illegal substance on a suspect and arrest them based on that find.
On the other hand, an intent to distribute crime does not require an accused individual to actually have the illegal substance under their control. In some cases the facts and circumstances surrounding a person's charges may lead law enforcement officials to believe that they are planning a drug distribution or sale even if they do not have the drugs at the time they are arrested. A further crime, possession with intent to distribute, may be charged if a person allegedly possesses the illegal drugs and there is evidence that they planned to distribute it.
All drug charges are serious. Possession and intent to distribute charges can affected individuals' lives long into the future. For this reason, when facing charges of this nature it is often helpful for individuals to seek the counsel of legal professionals who are experienced in handling drug-related cases.