Distribution of Drugs

Distribution of drugs is a very serious charge that carries potential prison time and a substantial license suspension by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, a second or subsequent conviction for distribution of drugs carries a mandatory state prison sentence.

Elements of Distribution of Drugs

In order to convict a defendant of distribution of drugs, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant distributed (sold or gave) some amount of a controlled substance to another person or persons; and
  2. The defendant did so intentionally or knowingly.

Confidential Informants are often used by police departments to set up drug dealers. A confidential informant is generally an individual who has been arrested for drug possession. The police or the district attorney agree to not charge the individual or to offer a favorable plea deal if the individual either provides information to the police about a drug dealer or participates in a controlled drug buy.

  • A controlled drug buy involves the police giving the informant a sum of money and watching as the informant purchases drugs from the defendant. While this may seem like an open and shut case, in order for the Commonwealth to prevail, it is required to identify the confidential informant. Many times, the district attorney and the police are unwilling to provide the identity of the confidential informant to the defendant, and these cases are generally dismissed.
  • If the confidential informant provides information to the police that allows the police to obtain a search warrant, there may be a valid motion to suppress the drugs. Courts reviewing search warrants based on information provided by confidential informants apply a very strict standard to ensure the reliability of the informant’s information. Attorney Spring has won motions to suppress by challenging the information provided by confidential informants.

Cases charging distribution of drugs are often difficult to prove. A common fact pattern involves the police observing what they believe to be a hand-to-hand transaction between a drug dealer and a drug user. Different teams of police officers will then separately stop the alleged buyer and the alleged dealer. The buyer will generally turn over drugs and tell the police that he or she just bought drugs from the defendant. The police will then seize money from the defendant that was supposedly used to buy the drugs. While this may seem like another strong case for the Commonwealth, the drug buyer rarely appears in court to testify against the dealer. Therefore, any statements made by the buyer are inadmissible against the defendant. Without the buyer’s testimony, these types of cases are extremely defensible. Attorney Spring has extensive experience defending these types of cases.

Because a conviction for distribution of drugs results in serious consequences, including a license suspension and the possibility of prison time, you need to be represented by an attorney with extensive experience in litigating such cases. As an assistant district attorney earlier in his career, Attorney Spring prosecuted hundreds of drug cases, from straight possession charges to trafficking. Since forming Spring & Spring, he has successfully defended hundreds of people charged with drug crimes.

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