Being charged of any crime is a frightening prospect. But be especially concerned if you are accused of possession with intent to distribute (PWID). Under New York law, this crime holds serious consequences that can disrupt your life and cause uncertainty in your future. There are several defenses against PWID charges. It’s important to understand how a defense team will determine which strategy fits best with the circumstances surrounding your case.
What Elements Must the Prosecution Prove Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt?
For prosecutors in a PWID case to achieve a guilty verdict, they must provide enough evidence that proves the following beyond the shadow of a doubt:
- The person accused had the intent to sell or distribute a controlled/illegal substance and had knowledge of his or her actions
- The person accused had possession of the substance, whether it be actual possession or constructive possession
- The substance in question can be proven to be controlled and/or illegal
All of these elements must exist and be able to be proven with evidence in order for a judge to hand down a guilty verdict.
What You Need to Know About Circumstantial Evidence
If possible, a criminal defense lawyer will first try to argue his or her client’s actual innocence by providing evidence that they had no knowledge of the drugs, or that the drugs were not actually a controlled or illegal substance. In cases where this is not possible, an attorney must consider circumstantial evidence.
Much of the evidence that “proves” a defendant’s intent to distribute is actually circumstantial and doesn’t prove anything at all. For example, a defendant arrested with a large amount of cocaine separated into individual baggies who also possessed a scale will likely be charged with PWID. However, this evidence does not provide proof without a doubt that the defendant meant to sell the drugs.
Only a confession from the defendant would provide proof without a doubt. This is why it’s crucial for individuals dealing with law enforcement regarding drug charges invoke their right to remain silent.
Call Schwartz & Krysinski, LLP Today for More Information
Don’t let possession with intent to distribute charges upend your life as you know it. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help protect your rights under New York law and will work hard to keep your record clean. Call now for a consultation at (718) 208-6094 or (917) 309-3678.