What Is The Difference Between Possession and Possession With Intent?Feb 22, 2016, by Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Legal Blog, Marijuana in
Possession and possession with intent are two distinct offenses in the Great Lakes State. While both share a common feature—possession of a controlled substance—penalties vary considerably for each offense, with possession with intent resulting in greater incarceration time and heftier penalties. If convicted of possessing a schedule 1 or schedule 2 controlled substance in Michigan, a person could face a year or more of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines. In contrast, if that same person were convicted of possessing a schedule 1 or schedule 2 controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute it, he or she could face a felony, years of incarceration, and at least $20,000 in fines. If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance or with possession with intent, contact an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney to better understand the charges brought against you.
Possession vs. Possession with Intent
Possession means a person held a controlled substance on his or her body or was in control of a controlled substance that was located elsewhere. Having control could mean having access to a drug, for example, in a vehicle or bag, even if that drug wasn’t on your body.
Possession with Intent
Possession with intent is shorthand for possession with intent to sell or distribute. This charge can be brought against a person who was both intending to distribute a controlled substance and who had that controlled substance in his or her possession. While intent to sell can be difficult to prove, evidence that a person was intending to sell or distribute a drug can be surmised from drug trafficking paraphernalia, e.g. bags and scales, large amounts of the drug, and witness testimony.
2 Parts to Possession with Intent
In order for a person to be charged with possession with intent, that person has to be in possession of a controlled substance. If a person unknowingly was in possession of a drug or did not know that what they possessed was a drug, a Michigan criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that they were not actually in possession of a controlled substance.
Intent to sell
Intent means a person intended to sell or distribute a controlled substance. If a person was in possession of a controlled substance—even a large amount—but did not intend to sell it, a Michigan criminal defense lawyer may be able to prove that the criteria of intent was not satisfied and fight to get that person’s charges reduced or dismissed.
Harsher Penalties for Possession with Intent
While penalties for possession for controlled substances are strict, penalties for possession with intent are even more severe.
- Possession — misdemeanor punishable by up to 1-year incarceration and up to $2,000 in fines
- Possession with intent — felony, for less than 5kg, punishable by up to 4 years incarceration and up to $20,000 in fines
- Possession — felony, for less than 25g, punishable by up to 4 years incarceration and up to $25,000 in fines
- Possession with intent —felony, for less than 50g, punishable by up to 20 years incarceration and up to $25,000 in fines
How the Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney with Davis Law Group Can Help You
Maurice Davis, founder of Davis Law Group, has years of experience helping people who are facing possession and possession with intent charges. If you’ve been charged with either of these offenses, contact a Michigan criminal defense attorney at Davis Law Group today. One of our experienced lawyers may be able to defend your case by showing that you didn’t meet the criteria for possession or for possession with intent. For a free consultation, call Davis Law Group at (313) 818-3238 today.