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Possession With Intent to Distribute




Most drug possession cases come about because someone is trying to "work off" their own drug charge by setting up one of their friends.


Undercover Fairfax County police are trained to look, act, and talk like drug users.  Mostly, though, they do not interact with the person being set up.  Mostly, undercover Fairfax County police or undercover Prince William County police remain in the car or in the back seat where they cannot be seen clearly by the person being set up.


Hand-to-hand buys between the accused and undercover police are very hard to defend.  Many people accused of possession with intent to distribute, PWID, work off their charge by setting up someone else.  Someone else as low on the totem pole as themselves. 


There lots of drugs right now that do not necessarily fit the description of illegal drugs as defined in the Virginia Code.


Make sure that the drug you are charged with distributing is in fact illegal.


Then, analyze the identification.  Maybe the police officer did not get a good look at you.  Maybe your "friend" has you mixed up with someone else.


Maybe your "friend" really set up someone else who looks like you and used your name to the police.


Always check the value of the identification evidence against you.


Make sure there is a certificate of analysis from the Division of Forensic Sciences.  Double check the quantity listed.


There are very specific procedural rules regarding what sort of testimonial and documentary evidence is admissible in drug cases.  Make sure that your attorney carefully explains this to you. 


Your attorney should do everything possible to keep the certificate of analysis from coming into evidence.


If the certificate of analysis does come into evidence in Circuit Court, it will be because the forensic scientist who created the certificate of analysis is in court to testify as to what it says.


Prior to trial, your attorney should talk to the scientist at the Division of Forensic Sciences who analyzed the drug.


How many times what the drug analyzed?  How much of the drug was used in the analysis? 


At trial, when the prosecutor attempts to qualify the forensic scientist as an expert, your attorney should carefully cross examine the scientist at to her or his qualifications before agreeing to allow her to testify.  This is called voir dire.  Your attorney should use this opportunity to call the scientist's expertise into question.


When the scientist does testify, your attorney should carefully cross examine as to methods used by the scientist. 


You should also think about the pros and cons of hiring your own expert.


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