What is The Difference Between Drug Possession and the Intent to Distribute?

January 1, 2023 | By Shane Phelps Law
What is The Difference Between Drug Possession and the Intent to Distribute?

Most people are aware that it is illegal to possess drugs, but not everyone knows the difference between possession and distribution of drugs. The law treats these two offenses very differently, so it is important to understand how authorities use evidence to determine whether an individual had drugs or intended to distribute them. Let’s take a look at how officers distinguish between these charges in Texas.

What is The Intent to Distribute?

In Texas, intent to distribute drugs carries heavier penalties than simple possession.

For someone's drug charge to be upgraded from mere possession to intent to distribute, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to sell or otherwise distribute the drugs they were caught with. This can include circumstantial evidence such as large quantities of cash, multiple cell phones, scales, and even weapons found in close proximity to the drugs. However, without solid evidence proving intent, an individual may still be charged with simple possession rather than distribution.

Distribution involves more than just having large amounts of drugs on hand. It includes any activity related to supplying others with drugs, such as manufacturing them, buying them in bulk, or selling them on the street or online. Depending on what type of drug it is and who is involved in its sale or distribution, punishments can range from probation up to long prison sentences and hefty fines. Furthermore, if an individual distributes a controlled substance near schools or parks where minors frequent, they can face increased penalties due to enhanced criminal statutes for those areas.

What Can be Done?

Whether you’re facing charges related to the possession or distribution of drugs in Texas, it’s important that you understand your rights and options under state law. Due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, there’s almost no room for leniency when it comes to convictions involving controlled substances - making it vital that you have experienced legal counsel who understands what constitutes intent vs. mere possession when building your defense strategy against these types of charges. With proper representation, you may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed entirely. Know that the team at Shane Phelps Law is ready to fight for you and your case. Contact us today.