New Hampshire has drug statutes that closely align with federal regulations for the most part. State law makes it a crime to possess various substances. People can also end up facing criminal charges related to the distribution or trafficking of prohibited or controlled substances. Possession offenses are often classified as minor crimes or misdemeanors rather than felony offenses. However, in a variety of circumstances, the state may increase the classification of charges for those with a large volume of drugs or a history of drug trafficking. They will then be more likely to face serious possession with intent charges.
Certain types of paraphernalia and packaging can also make the state more suspicious of someone’s true intentions when they get arrested in possession of controlled substances. While possession may be the most minor drug offense possible under New Hampshire laws, possession with the intent to distribute those drugs is a far more serious crime that could very well result in felony charges.
Why the intent to sell is more serious
Generally, if the state attempts to bring possession with intent charges against an individual, there were aggravating factors present at the time of their arrest that raised questions about their possible involvement in the drug trade. Their social relationships, financial records and prior arrests can all influence what the state believes is the most appropriate charge given the circumstances. The state can pursue more aggressive charges and more serious penalties in cases where the circumstances seem to indicate their actions put others at risk.
What are the possible penalties?
A first possession with intent offense could lead to three years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines. Any repeat offenses can carry up to six years in jail and $50,000 in fines. Larger amounts of drugs can also increase the penalties involved. Those with multiple pounds of drugs, for example, could face up to 20 years in prison for a conviction or guilty plea.
When compared with simple possession penalties, which can be as low as a year of jail time and $2,000 in fines, the severity of those penalties is even more obvious. Those accused of possession with intent have multiple defense options available, from challenging attempts to establish constructive possession to proving that what they had was only for personal use. Ultimately, learning more about New Hampshire’s often restrictive drug statutes may help people plan the best response after an arrest or an alleged possession with intent offense.