How much jail time can be expected for counts of possession with intent to distribute? 52 Answers as of June 28, 2013

My cousin, a first time offender, was arrested with a few of her friends and I was curious how much jail time she might be looking at. She was arrested (along with her friends) and each of them were charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, LSD with intent to distribute, ecstasy with intent to distribute, and hash with intent to distribute. I have no idea how much jail time that would be, but it appears that each is a separate felony, correct?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Each is a separate felony. Hopefully she has a good attorney by now. She is looking at possible prison time so avoiding that is the primary goal.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/11/2012
Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
Each Felony conviction carries a penalty of 1-5 years or more incarceration, plus fines.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/17/2012
Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
Depends on the Judge, the number of sales, and the County. It is impossible to say.
Answer Applies to: Wyoming
Replied: 8/10/2012
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
It is really impossible to answer your questions because the disposition of a criminal case is often dependent more upon the criminal history of the defendants than the crimes they have been charged with. Charges of possession with intent to distribute are usually felonies and depending on the quantity of drugs or nature of the drugs generally have different possible penalties. If your cousin is charged with each of the crimes you describe in your question, she would be facing four felony charges as would her friends. She should hire a good criminal attorney who might be able to give you the information you are asking about if your cousin authorizes the attorney to give you information about her case. You could also examine the court files which are public records and look at the charging documents which usually indicate the maximum penalty and fine which could be assessed by the court.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/10/2012
Law Office of Mark Bruce
Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
Yes, each is a separate felony but how much or even whether there will be jail time depends on so many factors that a website cannot give you an answer. You need to consult a real live lawyer who is familiar with your jurisdiction to get a clear idea of what she's facing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/10/2012
    Herschel Bullen
    Herschel Bullen | Herschel Bullen
    Each substance can be charged as a separate count. Depending upon the facts involved, the simple general answer is that a sentence could range from probation with no jail to 15 years in prison for a second degree felony. It is conceivable that the sentence could require that each conviction run consecutively, meaning that each would have to be served separately. But a sentence could specify that each count be run concurrently, i.e., all at one time. However, it cannot be emphasized enough that the details of the case, the circumstances involved, the individuals background, the amounts of the drugs, and many other factors, are particularly important to such an analysis. Without those details, a more specific answer cannot be given.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Each has her own felony, I presume. It is impossible to tell you what penalty will be imposed, even if each girl has a clean record, as you have not indicated the type of drug, its weight, or the amount of drugs confiscated. Penalties vary from probation to heavy prison terms, dependent on the weight and type of drugs involved. In any case, hire a good defense counsel to represent them.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Law Office of Ismail Mohammed | Ismail Mohammed
    Each charge is different and will be sentenced differently. She could be potentially looking at 2 1/2 years for each charge. Depending on her record or lack of a record, she may be able to plea and get a reduced sentence or probation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/10/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Depends on the amount for weed if it is a felony. Intent to distribute a first degree felony punishable up to 99 years.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    In Mississippi, your cousin would be facing at least thirty (30) years for a conviction of possession with intent to distribute. Exactly how much time she would be facing would depend on how she was charged and indicted. If they charged her with four different felonies and indicted her on four counts, then each count would be a separate charge and she would be facing 30 years on each count for a total of 120 years.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/9/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Your questions are valid, but accurate answers depend on many factors, such as the weight and packaging of the materials. There is a legal issue of the sufficiency of the State's evidence to prove an intent to distribute.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    I don't want to scare you but it is a lot and there may be mandatory minimum sentences involved. You have those Socialist Conservative Republicans to thank for that.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If all the charges arose out of the same occurance, upon conviction the sentences would be served at the same time. In Michigan, to accurately determine the possible range of sentence the Sentencing Guidelines would have to be applied. Since there are many variables, an accurate determination would be difficult. Also, the possible sentence would depend on what the ultimate conviction is.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    A person is arrested for suspicion of committing certain crimes. The police submit the case to the District Attorney who reviews the evidence and determines what actual charges will be filed. The charges listed at the time of the arrest may not ultimately be the charges filed by the District Attorney. The punishment imposed upon conviction would vary greatly depending upon what charges result in conviction either at the conclusion of a trial or a negotiated plea bargain which could reduce the number of charges and a recommendation of leniency by the District Attorney. The amount of punishment is also affected by whether the facts of the crime are aggravated and the defendant's criminal history. An attorney can review the case and evidence and have a better opinion as to what potential penalty may be imposed although an attorney can never guarantee what punishment a judge will impose.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    The Law Offices of Stephen L. Richards | Stephen L. Richards
    Each is a separate felony.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Each is a separate felony count. I suspect she is looking at about 3-5 years in prison. Therefore, I would recommend that she retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    Unfortunately they treat ex harder than cocaine or heroin. Hire an attorney and hopefully they can get probation and a plea where he won't end up with a conviction if he can complete probation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    The honest answer is that no attorney can predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, expected testimony, priors history, etc. With multiple felony counts there is certainly the potential for prison time. The charges actually filed will determine how much time and fines could potentially be imposed. You'll learn the actual charge[s] and any enhancements filed and get copies of all the police reports and prosecutors evidence when appearing for arraignment at the first court hearing. The prosecutors can amend at any time they believe they can prove additional or different charges. In California, if convicted of any felony, you potentially face one or more years in prison, plus fines; on any misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 12 months in jail, plus fines. Priors and strikes will add penalty enhancements under the 3-Strikes rules. If this constitutes a probation violation, factor those new violation charge[s] and old deferred sentence[s] in as well. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to police or anyone about the case except with and through an attorney. Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, program, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
    Each is a separate felony. She is looking at at least 1 to 6 on each.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Steven Fairlie
    You can argue that it should all be included under one count of Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, but lots of Courts approve the multiple count approach.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Yes, each is a separate charge and they are all felonies. There's no way to guess what a person might get without knowing all the facts of the case. From there, the person's history (or lack thereof), their background, involvement in the case, and what their attorney can work out for them all factor in. They're all in serious trouble though - these are felonies that cannot ever be reduced to misdemeanors, so unless they all don't care about having felony convictions, they each need a very good criminal defense attorney. There may be legal defenses (search issues, Miranda issues, etc) or factual defenses (inability of the prosecution to prove intent to distribute, etc).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    LEATHERS LAW FIRM
    LEATHERS LAW FIRM | A. Wade Leathers, Sr.
    Yes, each is a separate felony. Possession of Controlled Substance is a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of 1 year to 10 years in prison. If the charge is Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substance, a Class B felony, that crime, if convicted, carries a prison sentence of 2 yrs to 20 years. Were they charged in Alabama? Sounds like the formal charge would be Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substance. Your cousin needs to consult with an attorney immediately in order to properly define what the formal charge is.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes, each is a separate count. Whether felony or misdemeanor will be determined on how much there was of each drug. An example is marijuana can be anywhere from first degree w/ 300,000 fine down to fourth degree which is 25,000 fine. There are also other penalties, including loss of license, and jail time, but w/o further info, I can not be more specific. She definitely needs a criminal lawyer to assist her.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    The Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson | G. Thayer Williamson
    Since they are first time offenders, most likely the DA would work out a package deal for deferred probation.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    Yes, each is a separate felony and your cousin could face jail time of a minimum of one year on each count. It is common for the jail time to be served at the same time (concurrent), but not definite. Also, it is possible that your cousin could be granted probation.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    From your statement it looks like there are possibly 4 class C felonies on her. If so they can carry up to 7 years on each one and they can be stacked on top of each other. This number of charges may result in a real life changing event for her even with no priors. It is also variable depending on what county the charges are filed in. Some are substantially more punitive than others. She needs legal counsel that is very familiar with both the law and the court.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Any charge of possession is serious. The severity of the offense depends on the amount of the drugs and the degree of the offense. Even on a first offense, a conviction may result in significant prison sentence. The presumptive sentence for a first degree offense with no prior record is over 7 years.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    Each are separate felony charges. It is not possible to give you any reliable information on a possible sentence. Some will depend on her involvement, did she have the drugs in her purse, were the drugs on the floor of the car, what did she or others in the car admit to sales, possession for sale? Other factors may concern the co-defendants like their records and whether the officer saw them give the drugs to her or she to them. Some counties are harsher than others.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Ascheman & Smith | Landon Ascheman
    She could be looking at anything from simply probation to several years in prison. There are far to few facts included in this question to give you a meaningful response. Your cousin should find a criminal defense attorney, like myself, who she can sit down with and discuss this case, the court process, and her possible options.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes each is separate felony and what kind of sentence depends on the factors in the crime and the person's prior record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    MatthewR. Schutz, Esq | Matthew R. Schutz
    Each is a seperate felony. I assume theycome out of one arrest. While there is a 5 year liability and various fines, There is a diversionary program for first offenders. I would need more data to be able to give you a batter answer.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    There's a difference between the amount of jail time possible, and the amount of jail time the person is likely to actually get. For those charges, the amount of jail time possible is several years. However, for a first time offender, I think it would be unusual for the person do to any significant amount of jail time. What your friend needs to do is to hire a criminal defense attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    John P Yetter | John Yetter
    There are many different classes of possession with intent to deliver depending on the drug type and the weight. Each of these has a different sentencing range, with expectations anywhere between specialized probation that results in no conviction entering at all and minimums in the neighborhood of 15 years. Each of the counts you describe can be a separate count, but will likely be sentenced together. Your cousin should hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer to help her sort this out.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    The amount of possible jail or prison she is likely to get if any depends upon several factors like amounts; relative level of culpability vs. that of co-defendant; jurisdiction; DA; judge, etc. Bottom line, when facing felony charges, it is critical to get the assistance of an experienced defense attorney to minimize not only the immediate, but also the long-term consequences of a felony charge.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Toivonen Law Office | John Toivonen
    In Michigan we score the Sentencing Guidelines to determine how much time a convicted person will spend in prison or jail. When the judge sentences he looks at the past criminal record of the Defendant, and various factors relating to the crime such as number of victims, and exploitation of a vulnerable person. As to the number of charges, each different drug could result in a separate charge. To get an accurate picture I would need to know the criminal history of the Defendant, and all the details of the crimes. We should remember that in the United States a citizen is innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has the burden of proof in criminal cases, and that burden is to prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Each is a separate felony- on a first offense it is possible she may not have jail time but the maximum jail possibility is up to life for narcotics and 5 years for marijuana LSD and ecstasy
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    It all depends on what degree of the crime.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    Whether she faces jail/prison time depends in part on her criminal history. As to whether each constitutes a separate offense also depends on the circumstances of her arrest. Under the unit of prosecution rule imposed on prosecutors (who file charges) she may not face separate counts.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The location of the county where the charges are pending may have a tremendous impact on the disposition of the charges. In some counties she may be looking at substantial prison time in others she may be eligible for Drug Court and a dismissal of the charges if she successfully completes same.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Bernal Peter Ojeda | Bernal Peter Ojeda
    Separate charge for each separate type of drug. Health and Safety Code 11378 gives the range of punishment for possession for sale of a controlled substance. Range for sale is 16 months, 2 or 3 years, now county jail time. Before it was State Prison time. Felony sentencing is complex and really not precise as a deal could be struck where she enters a plea to one count for a reduced sentence. So here she should have counsel go through what her max exposure is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    That depends on a number of factors. If she has no prior record she will be offered a plea to the felony possession with intent to distribute charge, PL2220.16, and get 5 years probation in most jurisdictions. She may get Judicial Intervention and be in drug treatment for 24 months. She might go to trial and be acquitted if the evidence is insufficient. She is probably not going to get a jail or prison term, but she will have a felony conviction for life and that makes it very difficult to get a decent job.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Each is a separate charge, but the time will generally be served concurrently, and therefore the longest sentence with be the one that counts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    Yes, they are all each likely separate charges. However, under most sentencing situations, you won't end up doing three prison terms consecutively. Rather, you would likely only have exposure of doing double, if that. Depending on your criminal history, and etc, that drug felony in Kansas carries between 14 months and 51 months prison.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Each is a separate felony, each possession and each intent to distribute. Only an attorney who knows all the facts and the complete record will be able to say how much jail time the defendant might be looking at. It is very serious, each crime is very serious, and she needs an aggressive criminal defense attorney to review the facts. It is far too soon to be looking at the potential punishment, the facts must be investigated thoroughly. There may be a reasons to suppress evidence including confessions. A first degree felony can be a sentence of up to 30 years, a second degree felony 15 years, and a third 5 years. The best thing you can do is help her get competent counsel, not wonder what she might be facing.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Correct, each substance is a separate felony. Sentences vary widely depending on the jurisdiction and judge. Hopefully your cousin will get a friendly judge.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    There is probably a charge for each drug, but for sentencing purposes possession several, different drugs with the intent to distribute is one offense. I have not seen a copy of the criminal complaint, but I would expect that all the charges are third degree offense, punishablae by up to five years in prison. As a first offender she or he is probably eligible for first offender treatment or what is commonly known as a conditional discharge.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    Yes each offense is a separate felony. Depending the drug quantity and the facts in the case there may be no jail time. Also there may be pretrial motions which might resolve the case.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    If convicted on that charge mandatory minimum sentence is four years in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    The only thing that any lawyer can tell you for sure is what the statutory maximum is, and that's 5 years for each of the substances you listed. Cocaine and heroin would be 20 years each. The amount might trigger mandatory penalties, if the case were in federal court. Ultimately, a person's sentence depends on the specific facts of her case, her record, mitigation, and the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    If they are first time offenders it is certainly possible to keep them out of jail, assuming the quantities are not substantial and they were not caught selling hand to hand in a school zone. A good defense attorney should be able to get them probation, again assuming the quantities do not rise to the levels of trafficking.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/8/2012
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