RI & MA Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Attorney

What is Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute?


Possession with Intent to Distribute the Drugs is the criminal act of unlawfully possessing either an illegal drug or controlled pharmaceutical drug without a valid prescription, with the intent to distribute the drug to another. Illegal drugs include marijuana, steroids, cocaine, heroin, and related substances. Possessing any controlled pharmaceutical, regardless of type, without a valid prescription is considered a crime.

Actual distribution of an illegal drug is not required to charge or convict someone with Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs.  Intent to distribute is all that is required for this particular offense. Intent may be inferred or proven from the facts and circumstances surrounding possession. For instance, the quantity of drugs may lead to an inference of intent to distribute.  If one possesses a quantity of drugs beyond what an individual drug user may reasonably be expected to possess for personal use, the law permits an inference that the person did not possess the drugs in question for individual use, but rather for distribution to others.  The intent to distribute may also be inferred from the discovery of drug-related paraphernalia in the individual’s possession. Examples of drug paraphernalia include packaging material for distribution, cutting or mixing agents, scales and/or drug ledgers. The location where the drugs were possessed, such as inside an automobile or near a school or large gathering of people, may also give rise to an inference of the intent to distribute.

Penalties related to Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs vary with drug type and quantity. Drug quantity is calculated by weight measures such as pounds (i.e. marijuana) or grams and related metric measurements (i.e. kilograms).  Illegally possessed pharmaceuticals are measured the number or volume of pills, or metric measurements, depending on jurisdiction.  The location where one is alleged to have possessed the drugs may also affect potential penalties. For example, possessing drugs in or near a school or park has more serious consequences than possession in the privacy of your home.

Being charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs may have serious collateral consequences. These may include denial of public housing, financial aid to attend school, the ability to serve in the military or armed forces, various employment opportunities and in some states, a license to operate a motor vehicle. If an offender has children, a Drug or Narcotics Offense charge may also implicate state agencies such as the Department of Child Services (DCS) or Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). These agencies may initiate independent investigations to consider the welfare of child or children who may have been exposed to a parent who is selling drugs. This could lead to removal of a child or children from the household or limiting or restricting parental rights.  Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs is a serious matter.  If you have been charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Drugs, it is important to seek legal representation immediately in order to protect your rights and minimize the impact that a charge of his nature may have on your life.


If you have been charged with drug possession with intent to distribute and need expert legal representation, contact the RI and MA criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.