Possession with Intent to Deliver: Penalties & Defenses

possession with intent to deliver

It’s common knowledge that it is illegal to deal drugs. But did you know it’s also illegal to “intend” to deal drugs? 

In Washington state, that particular crime is called “possession with intent to deliver.” It’s a serious charge with severe penalties. If you have been charged with this crime, you can’t simply sit and wait for the trial if you want to beat your charge. You need to take action.

The trusted criminal defense lawyers at Will & Will are here to help with that. Read on to learn more about this charge, its possible penalties, and how to beat it.

Possession with Intent to Deliver: Defined

Revised Code of Washington, Section 69.50.401 states that it is not only illegal to possess, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance, but also to possess a controlled substance with the intent to deliver or manufacture it. In other words, you can be charged with a crime related to drug dealing even if you haven’t done any drug dealing. It’s all about what police and prosecutors believe you planned to do.

How Do Prosecutors Prove You Had Intent to Deliver?

The police can’t read your mind, but they can charge you with a crime over something you haven’t done yet because they think you were planning to do it. That sounds a little unfair, but it’s common practice not just in Washington state, but all over the country.

To charge you with this crime is one thing, but the prosecution still has to convict you. To do that, they have to prove two basic elements:

  1. You were in possession of a controlled substance.
  2. You intended to “deliver” that controlled substance.

The possession part is usually easier for them to prove than the delivery part. If they found the drugs on you or in your house or car, they likely have possession covered. But the delivery part is harder to prove — and it’s where a good defense lawyer can often find a way out for you.

Prosecutors often have to rely on more indirect, or circumstantial, evidence to prove that you intended to deliver a controlled substance. That can come down to the amount of the drug(s) you allegedly had in your possession or what you had in addition to the drug(s) in your possession.  If the amount is far more than what one person would need for “personal use”, they may point to that as evidence. Also, if they found paraphernalia like scales, small plastic bags, various address(es) or large quantities of money, they could use that against you.

Penalties You Could Face

If you’ve been charged with this crime, you need to know what you’re up against. The penalties for possession with intent to deliver are severe. The good news, however, is that you won’t face these penalties unless you’re convicted.

If you are convicted, your penalties will depend on the type of drug involved and how much you allegedly had. If the drug in question was a Schedule I or II narcotic, like amphetamine, or flunitrazepam, you can be charged with a Class B felony. That is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. However, if you are accused of having more than two kilograms of the drug, your fine could be higher. In that case, your fine could climb to $100,000 for the first two kilograms and go up by up to $50 for each additional gram.

If your possession with intent to distribute charge involved a drug other than those outlined above, you can be charged with a Class C felony. That is punishable by up to five years in prison and includes fines of up to $10,000.

Beating Your Possession with Intent to Deliver Charge

Those are some pretty severe penalties. If you want to avoid them, you will have to find a way to beat your charge. That means building a strong legal defense and avoiding some common mistakes.

Possible Defenses

Every case is unique and requires a unique defense, but defenses to possession crimes often come down to a few basic arguments. Here are some examples of defenses to a possession with intent to distribute charge:

  • Showing that the drugs in question were not yours
  • Proving that you did not intend to distribute the substance
  • Arguing that the evidence against you was handled improperly
  • Demonstrating that your Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches was violated
  • Showing that you have a prescription for the drugs in question
  • Arguing that you were a victim of entrapment (note: there are many misconceptions that come along with “entrapment.”  This is a very difficult theory to prove and only an experienced and knowledgeable attorney knows when to apply it).

Proving your defense will require evidence and strong legal skills. Talk to a lawyer about your defense as soon as possible.

Do’s and Don’ts

What you do after you have been charged can have a huge impact on your case. Here are some things you should do:

  • Call a lawyer as soon as possible
  • Show up for court dates
  • Gather any evidence that could be helpful in beating your charge

And here are some things you should not do:

  • Do not talk to police without your lawyer present
  • Do not resist arrest or skip court dates
  • Do not talk to others about the charge or what happened; what you say can be used against you later
  • Do not violate the conditions of your pretrial release

Contact a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney

You may feel that you are in an impossible situation. You have been charged with a serious crime that comes with serious time behind bars and fines. We understand what you’re feeling, but we’re here to tell you that there is some hope. You may be able to beat your possession with intent to deliver charge.

Armed with a full understanding of Washington state law and decades of experience, the experienced lawyers at Will & Will have what it takes to defend you. We promise to always keep you informed and work tirelessly to build the best possible defense for your case.

Ready to start protecting your future? We’re ready to help you. Give us a call at 206-209-5585 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.

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