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Establishing Intent to Sell in Texas Drug Cases

 Posted on January 24, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth criminal defense lawyerSimply possessing illegal drugs does not automatically mean someone will be charged with intent to sell or distribute. However, prosecutors can use various types of circumstantial evidence to build a case that a defendant intended to sell or deliver drugs in their possession. If you get charged with intent to sell, a Texas criminal defense attorney may help.

Amount of Drugs

One of the first things prosecutors look at is the quantity of drugs recovered. Possession of a small, user-appropriate amount likely indicates personal use. But possession of large quantities—like multiple pounds of marijuana or hundreds of pills—shows an intent to distribute. There is no definitive threshold, but prosecutors know that dealers often possess more drugs than any one person could use before they expire.

Packaging Materials

The presence of packaging materials like plastic baggies, vials, scales, and extra empty capsules implies intent to distribute. Defendants often claim these as coincidences, but the argument weakens with large quantities of clean, unused materials ready for packaging drugs.

Prior Convictions

If a defendant has prior charges or convictions related to selling drugs, prosecutors can present this criminal history as evidence of current intent. The defense may argue that the past does not necessarily dictate today’s actions. A record of distribution makes intent more plausible.

Texts, Emails, and Phone Calls

Prosecutors can use recorded communications like texts, emails, and phone calls to reveal evidence of drug transactions and dealing activities. References to buyers, pricing, complaints about competition, and discussions of territories or supply sources help establish intent to sell.

Cash and Weapons

Someone intending to make drug deliveries may carry cash to facilitate transactions. Extra weapons imply a need for protection while dealing drugs. Prosecutors portray these items as tools of the drug trade, though money and guns could feasibly exist for other reasons.

Rational Inferences

During the trial, prosecutors ask juries to make reasonable inferences from the evidence. Is it plausible that 400 OxyContin pills were solely for personal use? Could a small-time user afford $5,000 cash? The collective evidence either supports or contradicts rational explanations.

In cases without direct proof, like undercover buys or wiretapped calls, circumstantial evidence allows prosecutors to paint a picture of intent to sell. While no one factor guarantees a conviction, the stacked evidence makes an argument that defendants with drugs actively participated in distribution. 

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Criminal Defense Attorney

The most important thing is to bring doubt to the claim that you had the intention to sell. A Collin County, TX criminal defense lawyer can help you do this. Prosecutors have a range of evidentiary tools to make their theory of the crime compelling to judges and juries. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-303-9600 to start with a free consultation.

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