When possession charges include the intent to distribute

For someone facing charges for the possession of illegal drugs, he or she may have questions regarding the intent to distribute. 

Charges for the possession of controlled substances increase in severity law enforcement finds the intent to distribute those substances is present. 

Possession of certain quantities can prove the intent to distribute

According to the South Carolina Judicial Branch website, if police find someone with a certain amount of drugs in their possession it can automatically qualify as the intent to distribute. Different amounts trigger the charge, depending on the substance. For example, if a person gets pulled over and an officer finds an ounce of marijuana in their car, that amount can result in a charge that includes the intent to distribute. 

Other drugs, such as heroin, have much lower thresholds when it comes to the intent to distribute. 

Possession charges alone are generally less severe

Understanding the difference between stand-alone possession charges versus possession with the intent to distribute is essential. Possession charges that do not include the intent to distribute are generally less harsh regarding jail time and/or fines. For example, the South Carolina Drug Statues website shows that marijuana possession is a misdemeanor. 

Not only does the intent to distribute bring the charge to a felony, but it increases jail time from less than 30 days to up to 10 years. Additionally, the minimum fine increases from a couple of hundred dollars to anywhere under $10,000. 

Someone facing any charges like these may find it beneficial to understand the differences because these charges will impact his or her future.