In a recent post on this blog, we discussed some of the online tactics used by police to track down individuals suspected of drug possession with intent to sell or intent to deliver. At our firm, we commonly hear questions about how prosecutors prove that a person had “possession with intent to deliver” instead of just possession. The answer, as with many issues of criminal law, depends on the circumstances of the situation at hand.
Drug Crimes in Illinois
According to Illinois law, there are four primary types of charges that relate to drug crimes:
- Possession of an illegal substance or illegal possession of a controlled substance;
- Possession with intent to deliver;
- Delivery of a controlled substance; and
- Drug manufacturing and production.
It is important to note that the law uses the term “deliver” instead of “sell.” There does not need to be an exchange of money or services to constitute delivery of an illegal drug. A person who gives drugs to another may be charged with delivery, even though no sale took place.
Proving Possession with Intent to Deliver
When a person has been charged with possession with intent to deliver, one of the key things a prosecutor must prove is intent. The state will need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect had drugs with the intent on distributing or selling them.
One way that prosecutors can do that is by considering the amount of drugs found on the person or property of the suspect. If the amount of drugs is more than what would be considered for personal use, intent can be inferred.
Intent can also be shown by means other evidence found at the time of arrest. For example, if the accused was found with a substantial amount of cash along with scales, baggies, and drugs, such evidence may support an intent to deliver charge.
Penalties for Drug Charges
The distinction between drug possession and the other drug charges can be dramatic for those accused. Under Illinois law, a drug possession charge typically carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Possession with intent to deliver carries much higher penalties. Depending on the drug, possession with intent to deliver can carry penalties from two to seven years.
What Qualifies as Drug Trafficking?
Another drug charge that is commonly confused with possession with intent to distribute is drug trafficking. Under Illinois law, controlled substance trafficking occurs when a person knowingly brings drugs into the state with the purpose of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. Thus, drug trafficking involves crossing state lines.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug crime, your future may be in jeopardy. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Wheaton for assistance. We will help you understand the charges against you and your available options. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation today.