Possession for Sale

A charge of possession with intent to distribute or sell illegal narcotics or unlawfully obtained prescription medications is a serious felony charge and can carry substantial prison time, including mandatory minimum sentences in some cases.

If you are charged with intent to sell or distribute, immediately contact criminal defense attorney James Silverstein.

Proof of Intent

The state must prove that you intended to sell or distribute a controlled substance. Although the amount of the drug found in your possession can be evidence of intent to sell, many states have not legislated a specific quantity.

Intent can be shown by finding paraphernalia under your control or possession that evinces the intent. If you have a scale, large quantities of plastic baggies that are used to package the drug, firearms, vials, and large amounts of cash, this can be used to demonstrate your intent to distribute.

In many cases, law enforcement will have had you under surveillance. Film or testimony of numerous people coming in and out of your home, or tapped phone conversations of drug transactions are evidence used to convict drug dealers involved in more extensive illegal transactions.


A charge of intent to distribute or sell is a felony. Penalties vary greatly from state to state and depend on the quantity, type of drugs, offender’s criminal history, and the circumstances of the sale or sales. For example, most states will impose enhanced sentences if sales of cocaine, heroin or other certain controlled substances are made within a certain distance of a school, child care facility, park, place of worship, or public housing. These convictions generally carry mandatory minimum prison sentences, meaning you must serve a minimum time before you are eligible for parole.

Many states impose mandatory sentences of 10 or more years and up to a life sentence for sales of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, or LSD.

Sales of marijuana, although felonies, are not treated quite as harshly but still carry significant jail time and fines, especially if large quantities are involved.

Alternative Sentencing

If a defendant is shown to be drug dependent, he or she may qualify for an alternative or indeterminate sentence, meaning that he or she could be released from prison in a much shorter time. In some limited cases, a drug dependent defendant may receive a deferred sentence with no prison time if inpatient drug treatment is completed successfully.


Many of these cases are overcharged and there may be little evidence of intent to sell. An experienced defense attorney like James Silverstein will also examine the legality of a search and seizure conducted by police, the validity of a search warrant, and the credibility of witnesses.

Call James Silverstein for a free consultation if you have been charged in a drug case to ensure all your rights are protected and all possible defenses explored to get your charges reduced, dismissed, or to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.