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How do police build a possession with intent case?

Posted by William Walraven | May 20, 2022 | 0 Comments

When police officers catch you with prohibited drugs or controlled substances for which you do not have a prescription, they will arrest you and charge you with a crime. Usually, having a drug that you shouldn't will lead to a possession charge. While any drug crime on your record is a serious blemish, possession is the least serious drug offense in California.

Unfortunately, police officers or prosecutors may suspect that you have done more than just possess those drugs. They might believe that you obtained them with the hope of distributing them to others. In that situation, the state will likely try to charge you with possession with intent. If convicted, you will face far more serious penalties than you would for a simple possession offense, and the criminal record will also appear more serious to anyone checking your background.

How do prosecutors and the police build a case that your drugs were not for personal use?

Based on your socialization habits

One of the ways that police officers and prosecutors will try to prove you had the intent to distribute those drugs is by connecting you socially to other drug users or drug dealers.

If you socialize with those who have criminal records for drugs, frequent locations associated with drug trafficking or have high levels of traffic in and out of your house, police can use those social behaviors to show that you likely play a role in drug trafficking.

Based on other items in your possession

If you have certain items that officers consider paraphernalia for drug sales in your possession, they could use those items to increase the charges they bring against you.

Digital scales and postage scales will make police officers suspect that you intend to weigh and repackage the drugs in your possession. Packaging items ranging from plastic sandwich baggies to straws and other individual containers can make police officers suspect that you intended to take the drugs in your possession and package them for individual resale.

Another factor can be the overall amount of drugs if you have quite a bit or if there is a wide variety of different drugs in your possession at the time of your arrest. Learn more about how the state develops different drug charges to help prepare to defend yourself against criminal allegations.

About the Author

William Walraven

Education Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California Juris Doctor - 2008 University of California at Los Angeles B.A. - 2000 Major: Psychology Past Positions McGrane LLP, Associate Attorney Trepel, Greenfield, Sullivan and Draa LLP, Associate Attor...


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