How a charge of intent to Distribute Marijuana is proven in a Massachusetts drug offense
One common question asked of a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer is how does the Commonwealth prove a charge of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. An intent to distribute charge depends on circumstantial evidence. One of the key elements of proof is the quantity of marijuana or other narcotics that are found.
It can be inferred from the possession of larger amounts of marijuana that intent is to distribute for profit. Circumstantial evidence is crucial. The facts and circumstances of each case will determine whether the quantity of marijuana is sufficient to convict a person of simple possession or with possession with intent to distribute. Each Massachusetts Drug Distribution charge is different, but in general, here are seven factors that prosecutors often use to establish ‘an intent to distribute’:
- An observed drug deal. A police officer can testify that in their experience they believed that a quick exchange was a drug transaction. This type of evidence raises Constitutional issues of the legality of the seizure, but also can be used to prove an intent to distribute.
- Large quantities of drugs. A large quantity of drugs may create the inference that the drugs were not for personal use before for distribution or sale.
- Drugs packaged for sale. The method in which drugs are packaged can indicate an intent to distribute. At a trial on a charge of possession with intent to distribute, often an officer will testify that in their training and experience the method of packaging was consistent with an intent to distribute.
- Scales and drug paraphernalia nearby. Digital scales also provide circumstantial evidence of an intent to distribute.
- Money: cash in large quantities can raise an inference of an intent to distribute.
- Messages from customers. Voicemails, text messages and customer lists can raise an inference of an intent to distribute.
- Coming and going from a particular place for short period of time.
The following factors can be used in a Drug offense of possession with the intent to distribute. In most cases, the Commonwealth will not have each evidence suggesting an intent to distribute. These cases are very winnable at trial and can often be difficulty for the Commonwealth to prove; if you can any questions, feel free to call Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924 to discuss your case and defenses.