Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Things to Remember About Intent to Distribute Charges

Holyoke law enforcement and the FBI Western Mass Gang Task Force recently arrested a man and woman for drug trafficking after locating more than 4,200 bags of heroin and 460 bags of cocaine in their vehicle. The search of the couple’s vehicle also revealed $3,923 in cash and several two-way radios, which are commonly used in dealing drugs on a street level. Law enforcement stated that neither man nor woman was willing to discuss the drugs. 


The two were charged with trafficking in 100 grams or more of heroin as well as possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The man who was the driver of the vehicle was also charged as a habitual traffic offender for operating the vehicle after his license was revoked. Both the man and woman were held overnight at Hampden County jails.


Intent to distribute charges in Massachusetts carry serious penalties. The following reviews three things that you should remember about intent to distribute charges.


Utilize Strategies to Keep the Drugs Out of Court


If you are facing intent to distribute charges, one of the first steps that your lawyer will help you take is to keep any evidence of the drugs out of court. Courts rely on various rules to determine what evidence can be admitted to trial. Some of the most common strategies include:


  • The drugs were the result of an unlawful search or seizure. If the drugs were only obtained by law enforcement as the result of an unlawful search or seizure, this evidence will likely be dismissed before trial. It is common for law enforcement to claim that they had consented to search a vehicle, but consent cannot be the result of coercement. 

  • Illegal searches or stops. If law enforcement relied on an illegal reason to perform a search or stop of a vehicle without evidence, the resulting evidence will likely be suppressed.

  • Reliability of drug-sniffing canines. Law enforcement in Massachusetts is using an increasing number of canines to detect the presence of drugs. Fortunately, it is often possible to challenge whether these dogs were sufficiently trained or clearly indicated to law enforcement if drugs were found in a vehicle.


There are Ways to Respond if You Did Not Know About the Drugs


There are cases in which a passenger in a vehicle is not aware that drugs were in a vehicle. Fortunately, in these situations, it is often possible to respond to intent to distribute charges on the basis that the person being charged did not actually know about the substances. In these cases, the prosecution almost always cannot establish the intent aspect of the offense.


Appreciate How Law Enforcement Distinguishes Between Drug Dealers and Users


Sometimes, law enforcement arrests individuals with a small number of drugs and charges them with the intent to distribute because these individuals also locate various instruments used to sell drugs like baggies, cell phones, scales, or walkie talkies. If there is an absence of these instruments, law enforcement often requires a substantial amount of drugs to charge a person with intent to distribute. 


Speak a Knowledgeable Drug Defense Attorney


If you are charged with any type of drug-related offense in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.