Understanding the Difference: Intent and Delivery of Controlled Substances
All “drug” cases are not equal, and neither are the penalties that can befall one when charged with delivery of controlled substances. Misdemeanor drug cases, while serious, are less serious than felony drug cases. Drug delivery—that is simply an exchange of a controlled substance, like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, from one person to another—is graded as a felony associated with drug offenses associated with “drug dealing.”
This is different from “intent to deliver,” which means that the accused person had an amount of the controlled substance that they intended to sell and distribute to others. “Delivery of controlled substances” occurs during the sale. It does not matter what amount of money, or what form of currency is involved. As long as an exchange has been made, you can be charged with delivery of controlled substances and the severity of the penalties for this kind of felony will depend on the type of drug, the weight or amount of the drug and the person’s prior criminal convictions.
Turning Possession Into Delivery of Controlled Substances
If no sale of drugs has taken place, the prosecutor may use a variety of forms of evidence to establish the intent to transfer a controlled substance arising from a possession charge. The prosecutor also can prove an intent to deliver charge even though no money was exchanged and the drugs were never actually delivered. While these charges are often based on the quantity of the drug in one’s possession, the drug offense may also be established based on drug paraphernalia suggesting an intent to sell the drugs, such as postal scales, possession of common cutting agents and baggies or balloons.
Because these types of ordinary household items do not establish criminal behavior taken in isolation, they are often offered as evidence along with the quality of narcotic in a person’s possession. Generally, the possession part of the charge is based on the production of factual evidence while the intent to deliver portion of the charge is most typically proven based on circumstantial evidence, such as the way the drugs are packaged or recovery of substantial amounts of cash.
Delivery of Controlled Substances Defense
The classification of felony is often determined by the number of grams of the drug that are in the person’s possession or were delivered. For example, a possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine or cocaine is a Class II felony that carries 1-50 years in prison. However, depending on the quantity involved, those penalties can increase to 3-50 years, 5-50 years or 20-life. Possession with the intent to deliver marijuana is a Class III felony that carries 1-20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
The likelihood of prison time can be high for these types of offenses. That is why calling an experienced firm, like Stockmann Law, is imperative. Without proper representation, your rights may be ignored and your trial outcome bleak.