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What Is Drug Possession With Intent in Wisconsin?

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Drug Crimes

Milwaukee, WI drug crimes defense lawyerCriminal offenses related to controlled substances are taken very seriously in Wisconsin. Drug-related charges can have severe consequences, even in situations involving simple possession of certain types of drugs. However, when a charge is elevated from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute, the penalties become even more serious. 

Understanding why you might be charged with one crime and not another, and what could happen if you are convicted of either of these crimes, is crucial for anyone who has been arrested for drug-related offenses. An attorney with experience representing clients charged with drug crimes can help determine the best defense strategies in these situations.

What is Drug Possession With Intent to Distribute or Manufacture?

Drug possession generally involves having small amounts of controlled substances for personal use. However, when one possess large amounts of drugs, police may believe that person intends to deliver, sell or distribute them to multiple people. This can result in the charges to be upgraded, and more serious penalties will apply if convicted. Possession with intent charges may also apply if one has materials that can be used to make or package controlled substances to sell to others.

Factors That May Elevate Drug Possession Charges to Possession With Intent

Law enforcement officers will review the facts of a case, the evidence, and one’s criminal history to determine whether it is likely that they planned to distribute or manufacture controlled substances. Factors that may lead to a charge of possession with intent include the following. 

  • Quantity of drugs: Possessing a large amount of drugs can imply intent to distribute, especially if the amount in a person’s possession exceeds what they would likely use on their own.

  • Packaging materials: Items such as baggies, scales, a list of names, or other packaging materials may suggest that a person plans to sell or distribute controlled substances.

  • Large amounts of cash: If a person had significant amounts of money in their possession alongside drugs, this may indicate that they have engaged in drug sales.

  • Communications: Text messages, emails, or other forms of communication that discuss drug transactions can be used as evidence.

Increased Penalties for Possession With Intent

The penalties for possession with intent to distribute or manufacture are more severe than those for simple possession. The specific penalties will vary based on the types and amounts of controlled substances involved in a case. In general, possession with intent of most Schedule I and Schedule II narcotics will lead to Class E felony charges. However, more serious felony charges may apply for certain drugs, ranging up to Class C felonies for large amounts of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl.

Potential Defense Strategies

If you are facing a possession with intent charge, there are several defense strategies that an experienced attorney might be able to use to help you defend against a conviction, including the following. 

  • Challenging the evidence: Your lawyer may argue that evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, violating your Fourth Amendment rights.

  • Lack of intent: Your attorney may demonstrate that there was no intent to distribute the drugs, such as by showing the absence of other distribution-related items or evidence or that drugs were solely for personal use.

  • Questioning witness credibility: Your lawyer may take steps to undermine the reliability of witnesses or informants whose testimony may be the basis for the charge.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys

Charges involving possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute or manufacture can be very serious, and a conviction could result in significant jail time, large fines, lengthy periods of probation, and multiple other types of penalties. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI drug crimes lawyers can help you explore your legal options for defending against a conviction, and we will provide you with effective representation during your case. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation and get the legal help you need during this challenging time.

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