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What is the Difference between Possession and Possession with Intent to Distribute?


While being charged with drug possession in Illinois results in extensive jail sentences and costly fines, being charged with drug possession with the intent to deliver, distribute, or sell can result in more severe penalties. However, you may be asking yourself, what’s the difference between ordinary possession and possession with intent to deliver?

Drug possession is a charge an individual will receive if he or she is caught with a small amount of an illegal drug that is intended for personal usage. The penalties vary depending on what type of drug was in possession. To be convicted of possession, a person must knowingly have the substance in their immediate and exclusive control, such as having it in your pocket or car.

Drug possession with intent to distribute will be charged to an individual who possesses a large amount of any illegal drugs or controlled substances. A telltale sign of this type of possession can involve the manner of the packaging, either in the form of a large “brick” or separated in small baggies that’s packaged for sale.

Other contributing factors of drug possession with intent to deliver include:

  • The nature of the location of the arrest
  • The presence of drug paraphernalia for sale, such as a weight scale
  • The presence of large amounts of cash along with the drugs

The most serious possession with intent to distribute offenses are considered Class X felonies, which are punishable by a minimum prison sentence of six to 30 years and a maximum prison sentence of 15 to 60 years, depending on the type of drug and the amount in possession.

If you have been arrested of possession with intent to deliver, distribute, or sale in Illinois, contact the Law Office of Steven Fine and schedule a free consultation with our Chicago drug crimes lawyer today to explore your legal options.