In Texas, the term possession means shared custody and control. The term intent to distribute is a little harder to define. Sometimes people establish the intent to distribute by admitting that drugs were not for their own use, but only to sell. That meets the definition of intent to distribute. Intent to distribute can also be established by a detective saying, “Listen, I was watching this person’s house and they were going in and out. We have stopped vehicles that were leaving the house, and those vehicles had the substance that we’re investigating. The drivers of those vehicles told us that the drugs were being sold at the house in question.”
The intent to distribute can also be established by a detective’s opinion. When someone has 100 grams of cocaine, the detective has to consider how long it would take the average cocaine user to use 100 grams of it. They also establish intent to distribute by looking at how it is packaged. If it is packaged in several individual bags, then that may satisfy the state’s intent to enhance the drug case to intent to distribute.
Can Law Enforcement Search Someone’s Vehicle Or Residence Without A Warrant?
Whether or not law enforcement can search someone’s vehicle or residence without a warrant depends on whether or not they have probable cause. Some people will simply give officers consent to search their vehicles, in which cases those searches are legal. However, sometimes police officers don’t do their jobs correctly, and will do an inventory search before they have a reason to arrest someone.
One legal question that a judge needs to answer is whether or not a police officer was threatening someone. For example, if an officer said, “Listen, I am not going to take you to jail if you give me consent to search your car,” and the person gave consent based on that statement, then the judge would have to consider whether or not that was really voluntary consent. If there isn’t an arrest-worthy offense, then they can’t do an inventory search. When we look at a search of a vehicle, we are looking for a reason to argue against the admissibility of the drugs that were found via that search. We consider whether or not voluntary consent to search the vehicle was given and whether or not the police officer performed a lawful inventory search.
Police officers almost always say that they’re inventorying a vehicle prior to arresting a person. The question that we ask is whether or not that inventory search came before or after the police officer made the decision to arrest the person and question them. We also ask whether or not the contraband in question was in a place where that person had an expectation of privacy. If an officer asked a person to step out of their vehicle, then why do they need to search the vehicle for their safety? We ask all of these questions with an eye toward getting these drugs suppressed and to increase the chances of getting a motion to suppress granted. If we are able to do that, then the state would be unable to use the evidence that they gained as a result of their illegal actions.
For more information on Possession, Sale, Distribution & Intent To Distribute, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (210) 229-8300 today.
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