Possession with Intent to Deliver

What is Possession with Intent to Deliver?

The laws of drug delivery, possession and use are governed by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which is provided in RCW §69.50.

According to RCW §69.50.401, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance.

Possession with intent to deliver is different from delivery in that the offense involves the possession of the controlled substance, even if no delivery has actually taken place yet. The two elements required to prove this offense are:

  1. The possession of the controlled substance; and
  2. The intent to deliver the controlled substance

Possession is not limited to a person having the controlled substance on his person. Possession can be found where the substance is in or on a person's property when he has both the knowledge and the ability to control the substance.

Intent is demonstrated through circumstantial evidence, such as an attempt to sell or distribute, or the quantity found.

Penalties for Possession with Intent to Deliver:

According to RCW §69.50.401, possession with intent to deliver of any form of a controlled substance included in the statute's Schedule I or II and classified as a narcotic, flunitrazepam, or amphetamine is considered a class B felony and upon conviction may be imprisoned for a maximum of ten years, fined, or both. The fine may be determined as follows:

  1. A maximum of $25,000 if the crime involved less than two kilograms of the drug; or
  2. A maximum of $100,000 for the first two kilograms and a maximum of $50 for each gram in excess of two kilograms.

According to RCW §69.50.401, possession with intent to deliver any form of a controlled substance included in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V, but not classified above as a class B felony, is considered a class C felony, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.

Defending a Possession with Intent to Deliver Charge:

There may be a number of ways to defend a charge of possession with intent to deliver. For example, you might argue that you were not in possession of the controlled substance at all. If the substance was found on your property, you could argue that you had no knowledge of it or that you had knowledge of it, but were not in control of the substance. Further, you might challenge the element of intent. You could argue that you were in possession of the substance, but did not intend to deliver the substance. Since intent is usually demonstrated by circumstantial evidence, challenging this evidence may be an effective defense strategy. You might also challenge how the evidence was collected during the arrest and any possible constitutional violations. Evidence that was seized during an illegal arrest can be suppressed, which means that the prosecuting attorney cannot use it.