What Is Considered Possession, Sale, And Distribution Of Drugs?
Let’s start with possession.
Texas law defines possession as having “care, custody, control, or management” over something.
The most obvious type of possession is when a person has drugs physically on them, such as in their pocket, wallet, purse, or shoe. But drugs don’t have to be physically on you for you to be charged with possession.
If you simply have control over a particular area, and drugs are found there, you can be charged with possession. Of course, you have to know that the drugs are there, but good luck convincing a police officer that you didn’t know the drugs were there when everyone they arrest claims they didn’t know drugs were there.
You also see “control” possession a lot in search warrant cases. For example, let’s assume you’re pulled over for speeding. Again, they’re going to assume that you have control over your own house and know where everything is. He pulls you out of the car, searches it, and finds marijuana underneath one of the back seats. If you’re the only person in that car, you’re probably going to jail for possession. You can try to explain to the officer that you let your friend borrow the car last night to pick up some friends to go to a party and one of them must have left the marijuana there, but it won’t matter. The officer is going to assume you know what’s in your car. You’re going to need a defense attorney to convince the prosecutors in court, or a jury at trial, that you really didn’t know the marijuana was back there.
You also see these “control” possession a lot in search warrant cases. Delivery of a controlled substance is exactly what it sounds like: giving drugs over to somebody. Again, they’re going to assume that you have control and know where everything is in your house. If you want to argue that you just bought the house and never searched the attic or that you let your brother stay there for the past several weeks and had no idea drugs were up there, you’re going to need a defense attorney’s help.
Texas doesn’t have a “drug distribution” charge, it has a “delivery of a controlled substance” charge. Delivery of drugs is exactly what it sounds like: giving drugs over to somebody. You only really see this charge after a sting where officers watch a target sell drugs to an undercover officer. Selling isn’t required, only delivery, so you can still be charged even if money never exchanges hands.
“Possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance” is just what it sounds like. This type of charge carries stiffer punishment ranges than regular possession.
Possession with intent to deliver is a charge that is highly fact-dependent. After all, few people confess to the police that they intended to sell the drugs they were caught with.
So how do you prove that somebody possessed drugs with the intent to deliver them? There are two ways.
One way is if the person was caught with a large amount of drugs. If somebody has two kilos of cocaine in the trunk of their car, the government will assume that they intended to deliver it. No one just keeps a personal stash of kilos of cocaine in their car.
That’s an extreme example, though. You can be charged with possession with intent to deliver for far smaller amounts of drugs. I’ve had clients charged with possession with intent to deliver for as little as two to four grams of a drug. In cases where the amounts are smaller, the government has to rely on other evidence suggesting an intent to deliver.
For example, if you’re caught with several individually packaged baggies of drugs, the police will assume that you’re selling. Same if they find the drugs near a scale. If police get a warrant to search your sell phone and find text messages setting up deals, you can bet you’ll be charged with possession with intent to deliver.
For more information on Possession, Sale, And Distribution Of Drugs, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 936-4521 today.
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