Intent to distribute is a class of its own, separate from possession charges.
O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(b) states, “It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, sell, or possess with intent to distribute any controlled substance.”
Nevertheless, how can the State prove intent to distribute from a legal perspective—as opposed to merely carrying drugs for personal use?
What qualifies as intent to distribute?
In the State of Georgia, the charge of drug possession with intent to distribute is defined as when the amount of the drug seized by law enforcement exceeds the legally defined threshold quantity for recreational or medicinal use. However, the court must prove the person intended to distribute these drugs. If the amount seized is several pounds of marijuana or an ounce or more of drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine, you may face a more severe penalty of a drug trafficking charge.
What Are the Penalties for the Offence of Intent to Distribute in Georgia?
Since every case is unique, many factors have an impact on the severity of punishment. The type of drug involved, the quantity, the location, the surrounding circumstances, and even your criminal record are a few of the many potential variables factored into the equation.
Regarding the most common drugs that put people behind bars, according to O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30 (d), those convicted for the possession of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine with the intent to distribute will be imprisoned for not less than five years nor more than 30 years.
Depending on the quantity involved, the penalties for marijuana may range from a minimum mandatory one year in prison to a 10-year sentence.
The State treats repeat offenders with notorious harshness, pushing for higher minimum mandatory sentences and maximum penalties for habitual offenders.
If accused under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-32.4, the offense in a school zone, you face up to 20 years of imprisonment. It also could come with a hefty fine of up to $20,000 or both.
Any evidence which makes it to trial and helps the prosecution prove your intent to sell the drugs in question works against you—e.g., drug scales, packaging material, a large sum of unclaimed cash, etc.