RI & MA Drug Distribution Attorney

What is Drug Distribution?


Drug Distribution or distribution of drugs is the criminal act of transferring either an illegal drug or controlled pharmaceutical drug without a valid prescription, to another person. Illegal drugs include marijuana, steroids, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and related substances. Distributing any controlled pharmaceutical, regardless of type, without a valid prescription is also considered a crime.  This includes distributions both by one without a valid prescription to another without a valid prescription and by one with a valid prescription to one without such a prescription.  By law, the only persons with authority to dispense controlled pharmaceutical medications are licensed physicians and pharmacists.  Anyone else who endeavors to distribute such controlled prescription medication is subject to potential criminal liability.

Actual transfer of an illegal drug is required to charge or convict someone with Drug Distribution. However, profit or consideration is not required to complete this offense. In most circumstances, one will distribute illegal drugs as part of a sales transaction in exchange for money or other item value. This is not required to be charged with Drug Distribution.  The offense includes circumstances where one individual distributes the drug to another as a gift, free of charge or in the absence of anything in exchange.  Often times, drug dealers will also provide drugs to lower-level dealers or even customers on credit.  Such credit transactions are sufficient to constitute drug distribution.   Sharing of drugs is a form of Drug Distribution.

Penalties related to Drug Distribution vary with the 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 my metric measurements depending upon jurisdiction. The facts and circumstances of the actual transfer or distribution of the drugs may also affect potential penalties. Location is often a major consideration. For example, distributing drugs in or near a school or park has more serious consequences than distributing inside the privacy of your home, vehicle or in public. The status of the person to whom the drug is distributed may also play a role. For instance, providing drugs to a minor may have enhanced penalties when compared to distributing to an adult.  There are many other factors and considerations that must be taken into account.

Being charged with Drug Distribution 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 Distribution 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 a child or children who may have been exposed to a parent who is either abusing or dealing illegal drugs. This could lead to the removal of a child or children from the household or limiting or restricting parental rights. Drug Distribution is a serious matter. Therefore, if you have been charged with Drug Distribution, 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 distribution 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.