The difference between possession and possession with intent

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Drug Charges

There are a variety of ways that people may violate drug laws in Georgia. Quite a few people end up facing criminal charges due to simple possession. Police officers catch them with controlled substances and arrest them. Possessing or being under the influence of banned substances can lead to arrest, as can possessing a prescribed medication without a valid recommendation from a doctor.

Other times, the state might file more serious charges, such as possession with intent to distribute. Such allegations may arise from a situation that could otherwise be a simple possession case. What separates possession with intent to distribute drugs from basic possession charges?

The severity of the offense

The most significant difference between standard possession and possession with intent is the nature of the charges themselves. The weight of the drugs found in someone’s possession and the type of substance determine what possession charges someone may face. People may face misdemeanor charges for the possession of certain circumstances. However, possession with intent is a felony offense even with lower-schedule substances. As a felony charge, possession with intent typically carries more serious penalties and leads to a more concerning criminal record than a standard possession charge.

The supporting details

What differentiates possession from possession with intent for law enforcement professionals and prosecutors are the details of the situation. Someone’s prior criminal record, the type of drugs and their possession and even the paraphernalia found along with the drugs may lead to suspicions that someone intended to sell what they had to others. Prosecutors and law enforcement professionals may latch on to relatively minor details as clear proof of an intent to distribute drugs to others. Those accused of felony drug offenses have more to lose if they enter a guilty plea. The benefit of more serious drug charges is that there could be more burden on the state to prove that someone broke the law or intended to do so.

There are often several potential defense strategies that can help those accused of drug possession with the intent to distribute those drugs to others. And, assertively defending against pending drug charges may help someone reduce the penalties they may face. Ultimately, those who understand Georgia’s approach to drug statute enforcement may place themselves in a stronger position to effectively prepare for criminal court.