Oklahoma has strict laws governing controlled substances prescribed by doctors and prohibited substances that no one can legally possess. People arrested based on allegations of drug offenses in Oklahoma may face penalties that include incarceration and fines.
Most people expect that the state will pursue possession charges when there are allegations that they violated drug laws. However, the state can also pursue more serious charges in certain circumstances. Possession with intent to distribute is typically a felony offense that carries far worse consequences than simple possession charges.
Why would Oklahoma prosecutors claim that someone had the intent to distribute drugs that the defendant claims were for personal use?
Prosecutors want people to plead guilty
Only a tiny fraction of criminal cases in Oklahoma go to trial each year. The vast majority of criminal cases result in a guilty plea. People want to avoid a trial by any means necessary. Prosecutors often push people into pleading guilty by bringing multiple charges over a single offense. They may also try to pursue the most severe charges possible given the circumstances.
Relying on tiny details to develop a claim that someone intended to distribute drugs is a common tactic. Sometimes, the factor that leads to harsher charges is the paraphernalia that police officers find when arresting someone. Scales, individual packages and unused consumption tools can all make it seem like someone may have intended to distribute the drugs to other people.
Other times, it may be the overall amount of drugs that police officers find or the variety of different drugs in someone’s possession. The greater the overall weight and variety of drugs involved in a case, the easier it would be for a prosecutor to allege that someone had those drugs for other people and not for themselves.
Finally, someone’s criminal history and social habits can contribute to the state’s case. Maybe they have visitors to their homes frequently, or perhaps they have ties with others affiliated with the drug trade. Their social habits can appear suspect to the courts in such scenarios and may seemingly justify harsher charges. Other times, it may be a history of involvement with drugs, including prior distribution offenses, that leads to prosecutors believing someone intended to sell the drugs in their possession.
Someone who pleads guilty to Oklahoma drug offenses puts themselves at the mercy of the courts. Mounting a rigorous defense often requires learning more about state law and evaluating the state’s evidence with the assistance of a skilled attorney to more effectively manage the risks at hand.