Alabama Possession with Intent to Distribute Lawyer
Drug charges are treated incredibly seriously in the state of Alabama. These sorts of charges are often dangerous to the general public, and can have a lasting impact on both an individual’s personal life and their careers professionally. This charge can often bar an individual from receiving a loan in the future, or getting into an institute of higher education. To prevent any such penalties, it is crucial that an individual hire an experienced Alabama possession with intent to distribute lawyer immediately. An experienced drug attorney in Alabama will be able to gather all necessary facts of the case and determine the best defense to assist in lessening and potential penalties you are facing.
Classifying the Charge
In Alabama, possession with intent to distribute is defined as any person that is in possession of a controlled substance other than when lawfully authorized. A possession with intent to distribute lawyer in Alabama can help an individual understand the specifics of their particular charge. These charges are frequently penalized depending on the drug, which may include:
- Cocaine – eight grams to 28 grams
- Heroin – two to four grams
- Methamphetamines – eight to 28 grams
These offenses are class B felonies, which mandate a minimum sentence of between two and 20 years, and up to a $30,000 fine. The law enforcement officer investigating and prosecuting the case has the determining decision of whether to charge simple possession or possession with an intent to distribute. This normally is looked at by the weight of the certain substances that are found at the time of the investigation. This if often an incredibly complex process, requiring the knowledge of an attorney.
Burden of Proof
In Alabama, there are two basic ways the state can prove possession: either actual or constructive. Actual is what it sounds like, where it is in his or her hand, in a person’s pocket, or in his or her sock; constructive possession is looked at from outside factors.
To prove a constructive possession case, the state must prove that the person
1) had knowledge of a controlled substance and
2) an intent to exercise what we call “dominion and control” over that substance.
Ultimately, the fundamental element that a prosecutor must prove in Alabama on an intent to distribute case will be both the possession by the defendant, which can be proved either through an actual possession or constructive possession, and then the specificity and weight of the actual controlled substance. A law enforcement officer must also prove that the weight of that particular controlled substance fell within a statutory range that makes it unlawful possession with intent versus simple unlawful possession. A possession with intent to distribute lawyer in Alabama can build an appropriate defense to best combat an individual’s charge.
Evaluating the Charge
Sometimes, cases will begin as simple possession and then evolve at a later date to possession with intent to distribute. A lot of times, law enforcement officers hold this over a defendant to try to get them to cooperate. If they will not cooperate, the law enforcement officer will seek a higher charge, the intent to distribute versus simple possession. Intent to distribute in Alabama ups the range of penalties from simple possession from a class C felony to a class B felony. In Alabama, intent to distribute a controlled substance is charged typically by way of arrest on warrant and, sometimes, by way of indictment from a grand jury.
In Alabama, the determining factor for an intent to distribute is viewed by the quantities and weight of the various substances or illegal controlled substances somebody is deemed to be in possession of. In terms of investigation, those things are focused on when trying to bring the charge. Further, if somebody is in possession of more than one controlled substance, they could be charged with simple possession of one and then intent to distribute the other, depending on the weight and quantities involved.
The potential penalties for a possession with intent to distribute are the same whether the charge is brought by way of warrant or by way of grand jury indictment. This is penalized with a minimum of a two-year prison sentence up to a 20-year prison sentence. Due to the severity of these penalties, the assistance of an Alabama possession with intent to distribute attorney is made invaluable.
Diversion Programs or Alternative Sentencing
In Alabama, there are pre-trial diversion programs and what we call “drug court” programs that are typically available for first-time offenders of simple possession charges. Possession with an intent to distribute is looked at on a case-by-case basis with many district attorney offices and drug court programs disqualifying someone from participation in these programs because of the intent to distribute.
Many times, however, a good lawyer can mitigate the intent to distribute down to simple possession and therefore allow the defendant to participate in the drug court or diversionary program.
Importance of an Attorney
It is very important in Alabama to have an attorney when facing any type of drug charge because of the seriousness of the offense, the long-term life impact that a conviction could have, and also the serious penalties that the court could hand out. An attorney can assess their situation, put up a straightforward defense to the case, and give an individual the best chance possible to mitigate the penalties and/or be found not guilty.