Our Constitution grants us all unalienable rights to a fair and speedy trial. Despite this, there have been moments in the past where prosecutors have ignored the rights inherent to you. Do not let this happen. If you have been charged in Chattanooga with drug possession with the intent to distribute, you need to work with a seasoned professional who could protect your right to a fair trial. Contact an attorney who could work hard on your behalf today.
Intent to distribute is often shorthand for the charge under Chattanooga law of manufacturing a controlled substance, delivering a controlled substance to third-parties, or otherwise selling a controlled substance to third parties. Possession with intent to distribute is based on the facts and circumstances specific to the drug arrest. The individual might have only a small amount of a scheduled illegal drug, but if there are other paraphernalia present, like scales, plastic baggies, or individually wrapped amounts of the narcotic, authorities might still charge the individual with possession with intent to distribute. In Tennessee, possession with intent to distribute is a felony that, depending on the schedule of the drug, carries a significant amount of jail time and fines if the individual is convicted.
At the outset of a case, a police officer makes the decision about which arrest warrants to obtain based on the facts and circumstances of their case; however, people are often confused when their charge later evolves into something different from what the police officer charged them with. It is the attorneys with the district attorney’s office who make the final decision regarding how to charge a particular case when they seek an indictment from a grand jury. The district attorney or an assistant district attorney typically drafts the indictment document in which they specify their decision to charge the individual with possession or possession with intent to distribute based on the facts, circumstances, and evidence gathered by the investigating officers.
As with all criminal cases, the prosecution in possession with intent to distribute cases must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual has committed the criminal act. Beyond reasonable doubt is the highest evidentiary threshold in Tennessee, and one of the key factors in proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is the individual’s intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell the controlled substance.
Particularly in cases involving smaller quantities of narcotic, the facts surrounding the individual’s arrest and the evidence gathered can often leave enough reasonable doubt for a judge or jury to conclude that the individual did not intend to distribute narcotics and perhaps merely intended to possess them, which could be the difference between a misdemeanor or a felony conviction.
It is not uncommon for a charge in Chattanooga to escalate from simple possession to possession with intent after the district attorney reviews the case. A simple possession case has the potential to evolve into a far more serious possession with intent to distribute charge because of underlying circumstances, but it depends largely whether or not the reporting officer’s report and evidence hold enough information for a district attorney to charge possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, deliver, or sell a controlled substance.
An experienced district attorney charges the case accordingly, knowing that even if they cannot obtain a conviction for felony possession with intent to distribute narcotics, there is always the opportunity to fall back on the lesser office of possession of narcotics. An experienced lawyer who could dissect the indictment, create doubt in jurors’ minds, and challenge admissible evidence could help defend the accused individual against a district attorney who perhaps overreached when charging what should have been a minor case as a far more serious felony offense.
If you have recently been charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute in Chattanooga, your future could all-too-likely hang in the balance of a favorable courtroom outcome. Fortunately, the state must still meet all legal requirements for a conviction while honoring your constitutional rights. To better ensure that your rights are protected, choose to work with an experienced legal professional. Attorneys could not only protect your rights, but work hard to obtain a favorable courtroom outcome. Call today.