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3 ways police and prosecutors establish the intent to distribute

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Drug Charges

Many people caught with drugs will face possession charges. However, it is sometimes possible for the police or state prosecutors to turn a straightforward possession case into a case of possession with intent to distribute.

Defendants in such cases face serious consequences. How do the police establish the intent to distribute a drug?

Types of drugs

People caught with drugs typically claim they are for personal use, but the quantity of drugs might make police or prosecutors question that assertion. When someone has dozens of pills or more than a few grams of a drug, it might appear the person intends to distribute the drugs.

Having numerous types of drugs could cause the same suspicion. Most recreational drug users only use one or two substances; if police catch someone with multiple types of drugs, they might believe an intent to distribute exists.


Do you frequently have visitors to your house? Do you talk about your side hustle on Facebook or sell personal items online? The traffic in and out of your residence and your digital interactions with other people could make you look like a drug dealer, even if there are completely innocent explanations for the behaviors.

Police may surveil your residence or subpoena your phone records to show that you frequently interact with people you do not know. 

Other items in your possession

Scales used to weigh drugs or packaging for individual drug purchases might leave people to suspect drug trafficking rather than personal use. Innocent items you have in your house, like sandwich bags or postage scales, might make police officers suspect you of drug dealing.

Recognizing how the state establishes the intent to distribute drugs can help you fight back against pending drug charges.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association

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