When police officers find someone with prohibited drugs in their possession, an arrest will likely follow. The state can prosecute individuals for simply possessing certain substances. However, there are times when prosecutors will choose to file more serious criminal charges instead of basic possession charges.
For example, sometimes prosecutors will look at the evidence that police officers gathered and reach the conclusion that someone possessed certain drugs with the intent to distribute them to others. What constitutes a possession with intent offense in South Dakota?
Possession with intent implies a desire to resell the drugs
When the state claims that someone had possession with intent, the allegations are essentially that they would have transferred those drugs to another party if given the opportunity. Numerous factors may lead to the state assuming that someone possessed drugs with the intention of distributing them to others.
Often it will be the overall weight of the drugs that will lead to more serious charges. For example, someone only needs to possess a gram of cocaine for the state to move forward with possession with intent charges. There doesn’t need to be any evidence affirming that someone has previously sold the drugs to others or that they made arrangements to do so.
Other times, it might be the assortment of different substances in someone’s possession that leads to questions about what they intended to do with those drugs. If someone has multiple different drugs in their possession, that may not seem like a situation where they had those drugs solely for personal use.
Someone’s social history can make the state suspect them of involvement in drug trafficking. Someone who has friends with a history of drug trafficking might face charges than someone with no connections. If someone has items that seem like they would play a role in drug trafficking, including scales, materials for repackaging drugs or even items that people use to dilute drugs, like, that might make police officers a prosecutors believe that an individual intended to resell the drugs.
Possession with intent charges are usually felony offenses that can lead to major complications for the person accused. The charges carry harsher penalties because they are felony offenses and can also have a more negative impact on someone’s future by looking particularly problematic to parties performing background checks.
Mounting an appropriate defense is the best way to avoid the life-altering consequences possible after a conviction for drug offenses in South Dakota. Therefore, seeking legal guidance as soon as possible is very important.