One thing that is all-too-common in drug crimes is the possession case that is charged as a sales case.  Many clients are outraged and terrified to learn they are being accused of being a “Drug Dealer” when they have only engaged in personal uses of a controlled substance.

There are a few reasons why these cases end up being charged as “sales cases” and many clients seem to experience at least one of these patterns.

Amount: More Than One Would Normally “Use” On Their Own

Taking a look at the elements of Possession for Sales charge, you will not find any reference to the amount of the controlled substance.  The reason for this is because it doesn’t matter.  That’s not to say a jury or judge would disagree with the facts.  It just means that it’s not necessary to sell a lot of drugs in order to be deemed “possessing for sale”.  The only element that is relevant in a sales case is that whatever amount was possessed at all, the client had to have possessed with the intent to sell it.

Therefore, no purchase or sale of the drug need ever be shown.  How this is proven in court is a different story because drug recognition experts and drug lawyers like to argue about what is considered “indicia of sales” and what isn’t.

Packaging: a.k.a. “Dealers Like to Package Their Drugs This Way”

Experts enjoy testifying in court that there is a sort of art to packaging controlled substances.  After all, a personal user would stash their pills, marijuana, or methamphetamine all in one container because that’s where they go to use it–they claim.  Therefore, to a jury that doesn’t understand drug cutler (or more appropriately, the “addiction culture”), it sounds like common sense.

Unfortunately, someone who purchases their drugs from an unlicensed pharmacist doesn’t have a say in whether it’s going to be paper or plastic.  So when the client is arrested, their product looks like it was packaged by…well…a drug dealer.

Community Drugs: Sharing is Caring

People who struggle with an addiction or who like to experiment with substances recreationally tend to do so with others.  Therefore, why buy enough for yourself when you can buy in bulk for your friends or lovers?

Drug experts that testify for the prosecution don’t see it that way–at least, they don’t want to have that discussion.  The client’s friends are not the ones on trial, the client is.  Even though it is entirely possible (and basically probable) that the amount found was commingled with more than one person, the one who is arrested with it could face the nightmare of having to fight possession for sales charges rather than simple possession.

It doesn’t look like things will change any time soon when it comes to preventing sales cases from being filed when they should not have.  The only defense is to have a defense after the arrest has already happened.  After that, choosing how you want to go forward will be a critical stage in what remains of your legal future.  The answer to this dilemma is of course to seek legal opinion from someone used to dissecting these arguments–and finding creative ways of representing the facts for what they are.

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About the Author: Bart Kaspero

Bart Kaspero is an experienced criminal defense and regulatory attorney who has focused on using technology and the law in bringing privacy to criminal records. His research has been published in several legal journals and his unique background has helped a broad spectrum of clients. He has provided legal training to lawyers across the US on how to navigate complex criminal record legislation and how to effectively provide privacy to those with past arrests, charges, and convictions. His innovative methods have earned him a top position of authority on the subject of criminal record privacy as well as trust within the criminal data supply chain.