Possession with Intent to Sell Drugs

California is one of a few states in the nation that allows people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, it must be prescribed by a doctor and its use is still tightly controlled. You may face fines, jail time or both if you are caught possessing marijuana. You can be released from jail if someone posts bail on your behalf while you are awaiting trial. The penalties are more severe if a prosecutor can show that you intended to sell the drug to others. This is true of any drug that is considered illegal by the United States Controlled Substances Act.

How Prosecutors Demonstrate Intent to Sell

Being in possession of a drug covered by the Controlled Substances Act is a justifiable way for prosecutors to demonstrate intent to sell. This is defined legally as actual possession. You can also be charged with this offense by being in control over an area where police found illegal drugs, such as your car. This is constructive possession. Two or more people can be charged with constructive possession if they both own an equal amount of the vehicle or other property where police confiscated illegal drugs.

Regardless of where or how you were caught with illegal drugs, a prosecutor must still show that you intended to sell them. Unfortunately, a lot of people are tried on this charge based on circumstantial evidence. This includes having a large amount of cash on your person or owning an ounce scale that could be used to weigh drugs. Neither one of these situations alone proves that you even possess illegal drugs. However, the charge is a bit harder to fight if you are in possession of drugs that you have placed into smaller containers. Police and prosecutors are likely to assume that you intended to sell drugs to more than one person.

Possible Defenses to Possession with Intent to Sell

Just because you are charged with this crime doesn’t mean that you are guilty of it. The charge may be dropped if your defense attorney can prove that one or more of the following took place:

  • Someone set you up to make it appear you possessed drugs and intended to sell them.
  • You had a medical need for the drug and it was prescribed to you by a doctor.
  • The lab testing conducted on you was faulty.
  • Improper conduct by the police, including unlawful search and seizure.

Posting Bail for an Intent to Sell Charge

In California, the amount of bail varies depending on the county where you were initially arrested. The amount of your bail can also depend on that total weight of the drugs discovered in your possession. Before you ask someone to post bail for you, make sure you understand the county’s requirements.

Read About Police Search and Seizure Limitations