Traffic Stops and Possession With Intent: Know Your Rights

Possessing a controlled substance is a crime that many people will face in their lives because the federal government has chosen to regulate drug use. Possession of a drug isn’t always a crime – for many substances, with a prescription, it is entirely legal. Possession and use without a prescription and possession with intent to deliver or sell are illegal when there is no justification for the sale or the usage of the drug.
Every state has different laws on possessions with intent. In Nebraska, we have criminalized the possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) and CDS pre-cursors (these are the substances used to manufacture CDS). Penalties for personal possession (possession without intent to sell the CDS) include a fine of up to $10,000, up to two years in prison, or both. (Ne. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 28-451, & -452.) Possession with intent demands higher fines and longer prison time.

What is Illegal Possession With Intent?

Illegal possession with intent occurs whenever someone owns or possesses drugs or controlled substances that have been deemed “too much” for personal use. These crimes usually occur when someone is trafficking or selling common street drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, or other narcotics, but it can also apply to prescription drugs.  Illegal possession with intent requires a prosecutor to prove the following pieces of the puzzle:
1. The person knew he or she had drugs.  There are cases where someone does not realize they are transporting drugs. The prosecution doesn’t have to show that the defendant was aware of the drugs, rather your lawyer needs to prove that you did not know of them. You need to have a lawyer who can help you prove that you weren’t aware of the substances if this is, in fact, the case.
2. You possessed the drugs. This element means that the prosecutor has to prove that you had the drugs on you. They need to follow the strict regulations and laws when it comes to searches and seizures.
These two things might seem simple, but there are many rules and laws that go into them that make it hard to law enforcement to follow the rules. A good lawyer knows how to find holes in their stories so that you can get a lesser charge.

Simple Possession Versus Intent To Distribute or Sell

Depending on your case’s circumstances, someone who has been charged with possessing an illegal drug might end up facing possession with the intent to distribute or sell, which is a much more serious crime. Intent to distribute offenses are more serious than simple possession because they involve more work on the part of the court system and they have higher penalties.
Possession with intent is based on the amount of drugs a person is found to have, the drug’s purity, and other evidence that shows they were going to do more with them than just use them personally.

Drugs in Vehicles & Traffic Stops

Having drugs in your vehicle can be a problem at traffic stops – a problem for both you and the officer. Many possessing with intent cases arise from traffic stops, whether they are unplanned stops or DUI checkpoints. In these situations, cops often find drugs in the car and charge the driver.
It is important to know that you have legal rights here – you do not have to submit to a search of your car. If the police ask, you can turn them down. They need to have a reason to search – called “probable cause.” This could mean that you were seen hiding something, you have paraphernalia in the car, or the drug sniffing dogs signal that you may have drugs. Without any of these signs, they cannot just search your car for any reason.

What To Do After A Traffic Stop

Drug possession charges are often thought to be something you can just walk away from – but that isn’t always the case. But without a competent attorney like Daniel Stockmann at your side, it can be especially hard to move on with your life after a possession with intent charge. To give yourself the best chance to succeed, you must hire a lawyer that will fight for your rights.
You need a qualified criminal defense lawyer that has experience dealing with local police, prosecutors, and the court system. For help in Nebraska, contact Stockmann Law at 844-906-0641 to talk about your case and to see if we can work together.
If you believe that your rights have been violated, we will help you to fight for the justice that you deserve.