Possession with Intent to Sell in Connecticut
While 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.
PWITS Carries Stiff Sentences
Because they pose such a potential danger to the wellbeing of the public, drug offenses carry serious penalties in Connecticut. While some possession crimes have had their sentences relaxed, possession with intent to sell still carries a very serious potential maximum. Under the statute, someone convicted of PWITS for narcotics or hallucinogenics will receive up to 15 years for a first offense, as well as have to pay fines ranging up to $50,000.
These charges can be quite severe, but depending on the situation, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to seek alternatives. Unlike other crimes in Connecticut, felony drug charges do not carry a mandatory minimum sentence, which means that if there is some kind of extenuating circumstances or potential defense, it may be possible to reach a plea, or to obtain a sentence agreement that more accurately reflects your involvement in the situation. Someone convicted of PWITS will be facing jail time, but there may be other potential consequences that can be avoided with the right advocacy.
Call a Fairfield County Lawyer for Help
Drug crimes are much more complex than they can seem to the average person, and it is not unheard of for a person to be facing serious felony charges when they may not feel that it is warranted. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled many cases of this type, and if you have been charged with PWITS, consulting our office may help you better understand what your options are. Contact our dedicated Stamford defense attorneys today for a free consultation by calling 203-348-5846.