Possession with intent to distribute drugs, sometimes called possession with intent to sell, involves two parts. The first is the drug possession itself. The second is evidence of intent to distribute or sell the illegal substance.
The state of Tennessee has determined that possession of certain amounts of drugs can show something more than just for personal use. If a law enforcement officer determines that the amount of drugs one possesses is for more than recreational use, then one can receive a charge of possession with intent. To receive this, the state of Tennessee must prove possession of the drugs with intent to sell or distribute beyond a reasonable doubt.
The quantity in one’s possession is not the only element that distinguishes simple possession from possession with intent to distribute. Possession of items like scales used to weigh drug product in bulk, large quantities of unclaimed cash, or bags or other containers used to package and resell drugs, etc. can contribute to the charge of intent to distribute.
When one is charged with the the offense of sale of a controlled substance, a law enforcement officer has typically observed directly a drug sale or the sale involving an undercover officer. Sale of a controlled substance in Tennessee is classified as a felony offense in Tennessee, regardless of the amount. The sentence is generally determined by the amount and type of drug(s) involved, the location of the sale, and number of prior felonies on the record of the defendant being charged.
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A felony conviction can carry highly destructive life consequences. Possession with intent to sell or distribute is a felony offense in Tennessee, with serious penalties. It is very important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side, helping you navigate the legal system.