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CT defense lawyerWhile in recent months, the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Connecticut, it would be a mistake to assume that other drug laws are being similarly relaxed. This is especially true for those who have the intention to sell, and on top of that, those who sell more dangerous substances like heroin or hallucinogenic drugs may face even stiffer penalties. There is a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to Fairfield County drug offenses, and if you have been charged with one, especially with possession with intent to sell (PWITS), you need an attorney who understands the law’s specific nuances.

Intent May Not Matter

While it may seem confusing or counter-intuitive, Connecticut law surrounding possession of drugs versus possession with intent to sell does not make a distinction as to whether someone actually intends to sell the drugs or not. The law is structured in such a way that if you possess a certain amount of a drug, you can be charged with intent to sell it, whether you did have that intent or not. The only time intent actually becomes relevant as to whether or not you will be convicted is at trial - a jury may decide, for example, that you had no intent to sell drugs, and thus you should be found not guilty.

In some cases, you may not even have physical possession of the item you are charged with possessing - this is called constructive possession, and it means that you were able to exercise control over the item, even if it did not technically belong to you. For example, if drugs are found in your bedroom (after a valid search warrant is executed on the premises), you might be charged with possession since it is your room and because no one else can be said to have had control of the item while it was there. Generally, if you have a say in how something is disposed of or sold, you can be said to have constructive possession of it, and this is, in some cases, enough to charge you with possession with intent to sell.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerDrug charges are a very serious matter in Connecticut, especially for younger offenders. If you have been charged with possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug distribution, possession with intent to sell, or any other drug-related crime, it may seem that jail is inevitable, but you are entitled to a good defense from a Norwalk drug crime lawyer before any sentence is handed down.

Penalties Can Be Serious

While Connecticut has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (under ½ an ounce, generally), this does not mean that marijuana possession for larger amounts is not treated seriously or harshly. Any amount over ½ ounce will still carry a potential penalty of between one and five years in jail, with a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5000, which is the same type of penalty carried by a charge of unlawful possession of prescription drugs. Penalties for possession of stronger drugs, such as crack cocaine or heroin, are very stiff even for a first offense, with up to seven years in jail and a $50,000 fine as possibilities.

Charges such as possession with intent to sell, possession in a restricted area (such as a school zone, housing project or day care center), and distribution/intent to distribute may also be tacked on in your case, and in many instances these largely depend on the amount of the drug you were found to possess. Large amounts will generally get a person charged with intent to sell, simply because most of the time individuals do not keep large amounts for personal use. Because of the relative arbitrariness of these charges, however, it is sometimes possible to plead to a lesser charge or get them dismissed in plea negotiations.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerTo be convicted of illegal drug possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You possessed the drugs;
  • What you possessed is actually an illegal drug; and
  • You were aware of the possession.

There are two ways you can get in trouble for illegal drug possession in Connecticut. The first is if you actually possess the drugs, and the other is if you constructively possess the drugs.

What Is Actual Drug Possession?

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CT defense lawyerOpioid abuse is a serious problem in the United States. And the problem is only getting worse -- especially in Connecticut. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, oxycodone, and morphine. While prescription opioid painkillers are safe when used for a short period of time, regular use can lead to addiction, overdose and sometimes death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Connecticut currently ranks in the top ten states for opioid-related overdose deaths, according to NIDA. The number of deaths increased dramatically between 2012 and 2016, rising from 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people to 24.5 deaths per 100,000 people. That is well above the national average of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Thankfully, the state is taking steps to address this growing epidemic.

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CT defense lawyerConnecticut takes drug possession, possession with intent to sell, and other drug offenses very seriously, which is why you need an experienced defense attorney if you are charged with any drug-related offense.

In fact, a few years ago Connecticut increased the penalties for selling drugs. Here are a few things you need to know about possession with intent to sell:

  • You do not have to be caught in the act of selling drugs to be charged with possession with intent to sell (PWITS). You can also be charged with PWITS if found with large amounts of drugs in your possession and distribution materials like plastic bags with logos on them.
  • First-time offenders convicted of PWITS a hallucinogenic substance (other than marijuana) or a narcotic substance face up to 15 years of jail time and/or a $50,000 fine.
  • Second-time offenders face up to 30 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
  • Each additional offense carries another 30-year term and/or a $250,000 fine.
  • There are different penalties for PWITS marijuana. First-time offenders face up to seven years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. Each subsequent offense carries up to 15 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
  • There are no mandatory minimum jail sentences, only maximums.

An experienced defense attorney can help fight these charges and achieve the lowest sentence possible. For example, it may help your case if you are participating in a drug rehabilitation program.

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