Items that can upgrade drug charges to possession with intent

Posted by Brian SheffermanOct 07, 2021

When police officers catch someone in possession of a prohibited or controlled substance, they will typically charge that person with a drug crime. Most of the time, those caught in possession of a prescription drug for which they don't have a doctor's recommendation or a prohibited drug will face possession charges.

However, in some situations, the police or state prosecutors might upgrade the alleged offense to possession with intent to distribute. When the police believe that someone has previously illegally sold drugs or intended to sell the drugs in their possession, they may upgrade that person's charges so that they face more substantial penalties.

Unfortunately, some simple items in your possession might make you look more like a drug dealer than a casual user to the police.

A digital scale or a postage scale

Digital scales that can return accurate weights to a hundredth of a gram are popular among those who use or distribute drugs. Hanging postage scales are also commonly associated with illegal drug sales.

People usually make purchases based on the weight of the substance involved, both the person selling the drug and the person buying the drug want to be able to verify the weight of the drugs changing hand. While you may just have it to protect yourself from unscrupulous dealers, the scale might make the police thank you have to weigh the drugs to split them up.

Sandwich baggies, vials or other kinds of individual packaging

Certain innocent household items can look nefarious when viewed through the lens of law enforcement, especially to an officer who often works in drug law enforcement.

Sandwich baggies that you use to package your lunch or a snack for your kids at school could seem like a tool of the drug dealer's trade to a police officer. The same might be true of empty plastic or glass vials or even plastic straws, which people sometimes use to transport small amounts of powdered drugs. Any kind of packaging that police officers could claim you use to distribute the drugs they find in your possession could help the state build a case against you.