Rhode Island and Massachusetts 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.

What is required to be charged with possession with Intent to Distribute?

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

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.

Collateral Consequences of Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs

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

What Happens If an Offender Has Children

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.

Case Results: Possession with Intent to Deliver

Possession with Intent to Deliver 68 Pounds of Marijuana: 90 Days ACI and Probation

Members of the Rhode Island State Police stopped a vehicle for speeding. The operator, a man of Chinese descent, produced a valid New York driver’s license and New York registration for the vehicle. When questioned about his activities, the man said he was traveling from his home in New York to attend a friend’s party in Boston, MA. The man also showed police the GPS display opened on his cellphone. A trooper shined a flashlight inside the man’s vehicle and saw three large black garbage bags. When he questioned the man about the bags’ contents, the man replied he did not know and that they belonged to a friend. The man then began to display signs of nervousness and physical illness. This prompted the trooper to ask the man to step out from his car and stand on the roadside. The trooper then called for the assistance of a K9 Officer and a drug detection dog. Once they arrived, the dog alerted to the rear of the man’s vehicle where the bags were stored. Troopers then opened the bags and discovered 68 individually wrapped pounds of marijuana. The man was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana. He retained Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in this matter. Attorney Calcagni’s first priority was to secure his client’s release on bail. After losing an evidentiary bail hearing in Rhode Island District Court, Attorney Calcagni filed a bail petition or appeal in Superior Court. The bail appeal was successful. Attorney Calcagni then filed a motion to suppress, attacking the lawfulness of his client’s motor vehicle stop and search. After the Court denied the motion, Attorney Calcagni shifted his focus to pretrial negotiations. He ultimately persuaded the Court, over the prosecution’s objection, to sentence his client to 90 days to serve, deemed served while awaiting the bail appeal, followed by a term of probation.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: Reduced to Misdemeanor Possession and Filed for One Year

Johnston Police conducting an undercover narcotics investigation received information from a confidential source about an illegal, indoor marijuana grow in the Town.  Police sought a thermal imaging warrant for the home, which demonstrated that portions of it were heat soaked – a fact consistent with growing marijuana.  Based on this information, they then sought a search warrant for the premises.  They executed the warrant and once inside, police discovered a large amount of marijuana plants in various stages of vegetation, several pounds of dried marijuana ready for distribution, various equipment and related items for marijuana cultivation, and approximately $10,000 in cash.  Based on these discoveries, police arrested the home owner and charged him in Rhode Island Superior Court with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.  He and his family retained Rhode Island Drug Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in this matter.  Attorney Calcagni’s first success for this client was securing his release on bail.  Next, Attorney Calcagni filed a motion to suppress, alleging that the warrants for the man’s home (for thermal imaging and to search) were issued in the absence of probable cause.  With this motion pending, the prosecution offered to resolve the man’s case by reducing the charged felony to misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana and filing the matter for one year.  The man accepted the offer.  Providing he is not charged with a new offense during the filing period, the matter will be dismissed and sealed from public record.

Experienced Lawyers Defending Drug Charges


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.