Under Texas law, possession of a controlled substance is a serious crime, whether it is for personal use or distribution purposes. Generally, however, a person who has the drugs for their own use will face less serious consequences than someone who is planning on selling or distributing them to others.

Proving possession with intent to distribute

Prosecutors will need to prove three main elements if they want to charge you with possession with intent to distribute:

  • Possession – Proving that the drugs were within your control (e.g. inside home, vehicle, backpack, pockets) and that you knew you were in possession of them.
  • Intent to distribute – Proving that you had the intent to distribute the drugs to others
  • Possession and intent to distribute must occur at the same time – Merely having the intent to sell or distribute a controlled substance is not enough to prove possession with intent to distribute. However, you may get charged with conspiracy to commit the crime.

Intent to distribute often requires circumstantial evidence

Prosecutors, or anyone for that matter, will not be able to get inside the head of the defendant to find out what his or her intentions were with regards to the drugs in their possession. Therefore, there are multiple other factors considered to circumstantially prove intent, including:

  • Quantity of the substance – If the defendant was in possession of a large quantity of the drug, that could show an intent to distribute.
  • Other paraphernalia – If there were packaging materials, scales, or large amounts of cash in the area, these items could indicate an intent to distribute.
  • Customer contact – Text messages or other forms of communication between the defendant and potential buyers could be evidence of intent to distribute.

If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute, you could face significant jail time, depending on the type of controlled substance, quantity, and circumstances surrounding your arrest. A criminal defense attorney in your area can help defend you against these charges and challenge the prosecutor’s assertion that you had the intent to sell or distribute the drugs.