The police say I was intending to distribute the drugs found in my possession, but they were for my personal use. What is the difference?

At Grabel & Associates, we know that the difference in whether an individual possessed only enough of a particular drug for his/her own use or was in possession of an illegal drug and intended to distribute the drug is huge in terms of the punishment and penalties an individual may face. However, we also know that frequently, someone possessing drugs for personal use is accused by police of intending to sell or distribute those drugs. The implications of being charged with possession with intent are serious; you must consult with a skilled Michigan drug crimes attorney at once.

Possession of Drugs

Possession of a small amount of marijuana is typically a misdemeanor offense, which means the penalties if convicted will be minimal. If you are found to be in possession of heroin, cocaine, or drugs considered more serious, the penalties will be harsher, and charged as a felony offense. For example, heroin and cocaine are Schedule I and II drugs respectively; if convicted of possessing between 25 grams and 50 grams of either drug, you may face prison time of up to four years and fines of up to $25,000. The larger amount of the drug you possess, the more serious the punishment.

While the penalties are extremely harsh, police and prosecutors will often attempt to "trump up" a charge of possession to possession with intent to distribute, which means to sell, deliver, manufacture or otherwise distribute the drug to others. If this happens and you are convicted, the criminal penalties will become even more damaging.

Possession with Intent

Even though you may be innocent of possession with intent to distribute drugs, if you are charged with this drug crime and convicted, the penalties are life-altering. For instance, possessing a small amount of marijuana is usually a misdemeanor charge as we mentioned earlier. However, if police and prosecutors can prove that you possessed marijuana and intended to distribute it, even an amount less than 5 kilograms can leave you facing a fine of up to $20,000 and up to four years in jail.

Schedule I or II substances such as heroin or cocaine are punished even more harshly. If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute these or any drugs that fall into these schedules such as ecstasy, morphine, or methamphetamines, you will face a prison term ranging from 25 years to life, and fines ranging from $25,000 to $1,000,000. As you can see, if convicted on a charge of possession with intent to distribute your career, future, and freedom can literally be taken away. Your life is essentially ruined.

Contact a Capable and Aggressive Michigan Drug Crimes Lawyer Immediately

If you were in possession of an amount of any type of drug which was meant only for personal use and police are making accusations that you intended to distribute the drug, take action immediately. Do not let police intimidate you or admit to a criminal offense you did not commit. In fact, do not even speak to police without the presence of a skilled attorney other than to give your name, address, or other pertinent information.

When police or prosecutors are attempting to trump up a intent to distribute charge, you must have a skilled and experienced drug crimes attorney on your side who is dedicated to justice and obtaining positive results.

Contact Grabel & Associates now at 1-800-342-7896 for unparalleled legal support and representation. We are available 24/7 by phone or contact us online.


With drug crime defense attorneys statewide, Grabel & Associates defends people throughout Michigan charged with possession, intent to distribute, manufacturing, cultivation and illegal prescription drugs.