When you have been convicted of a drug-related crime, there are many different things you will need to understand about your case. Drug distribution laws, in many states, criminalize the sale, transport, transfer, and import of controlled substances, illegal drugs, and marijuana. A prosecutor, in many cases, will pursue criminal charges against somebody when they are selling drugs in a community setting, transporting drugs from one county to another, or importing drugs. The question is: How easy or difficult is it to bring charges of drug distribution against a defendant? How easy is it to tell if they were just using the drug for personal usage? In this case, a prosecutor will need strong evidence to rely on in making that decision. Evidence may include such things as packaging materials, scales, weapons, and other paraphernalia.
When it comes to lesser included offenses, simple drug possession would be seen as a lesser included offense of drug possession with intent to distribute. The possession element is there; however, intent to distribute is something that must ultimately be proven in the court of law. An elements test can come into handy to when it comes to drug distribution and whether or not simple possession can be seen as a lesser included offense of this crime.
What Should I Know About Possession and Distribution?
First off, there is a big difference between just possessing something and actually wanting to distribute it to other parties. Simple possession is typically not a lesser included offense of distribution. This is due, in part, to the fact that you don’t need to possess something in order to help distribute it. If you are simply possessing it for yourself, you are using it for your own personal use – not to share with anybody. If you physically arranged for one person to buy drugs over the phone but never possessed them yourself, then you may have committed drug distribution alone, but never possession. In that case, simple possession may be seen as a lesser related offense of distribution.
This is a very important distinction to have to be made. This becomes especially important during plea negotiations and when requesting jury instructions at trial. If you have been charged with a distribution-related crime in a place where simple possession is not a lesser included offense of the charge, then the prosecution might not even have the option of offering simple possession in a plea bargain. Your attorney may also not be able to get the judge to instruct a jury to consider a possession charge vs. a full-blown distribution charge.
What Are the Laws in Tennessee?
Laws vary from state to state, as you may already know. In Tennessee, a determination has been made that possession of a certain amount of drugs is seen as something more than just personal use. Therefore, if an officer determines that the amount of drugs that you possess is more than just that used for recreation, and it looks like there is intent to sell, then you could be placed with possession with intent to distribute. However, this doesn’t mean that you are automatically presumed guilty of a felony drug crime; you will still be able to plead your way beyond a reasonable doubt.
The definitions of the crimes committed play a huge role in what you will be charged with in the end. This is why it is a good idea to have an attorney on your side that understands the ways of the law and will be able to aid you in your case. Call the Blair Law Firm today to find out more!