What is the difference between possession and distribution?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2020 | criminal defense

If you have a valid prescription for a controlled substance in New York, you may wish to refrain from possessing or carrying a sizable amount of it in public. Carrying too much of a controlled substance, such as in your pocket, purse or vehicle, may lead to a charge of distribution. Law enforcement may interpret a large amount as an intent to make a sale or delivery.

The Empire state allows you to lawfully possess and use narcotics, opioids and other controlled substances for medicinal purposes, but you must first visit a licensed practitioner to obtain a valid prescription. As reported by the Suffolk Daily Voice, if law enforcement suspects you obtained a controlled substance with an alleged false or nonvalid prescription, you may face a charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Penalty for possession with intent to distribute

Possessing a large amount of a controlled substance may cause law enforcement to assume that you intend to sell some of it for a profit. You may then face a possible felony offense. A conviction for possession with an alleged intent to distribute a controlled substance may result in spending up to 20 years in state prison, according to New York Penal Code section 220.60.

Defense against charges of intent to distribute

A charge of intent to distribute may not result in a conviction if the prosecutor does not prove you intended to sell a controlled substance. Each patient requires different amounts of medication for varying medicinal purposes and circumstances. A defense may show that the volume found in your possession accommodated a legitimate medical need. This may serve to counter a prosecutor’s allegations of intent to distribute.