Being arrested on a drug possession charge is bad enough — but it’s infinitely worse if you’re charged with the intent to distribute those drugs.
What’s the difference? Frankly, it’s often a matter of circumstances.
The prosecution can’t read your mind, so the state has to prove its case by showing evidence that can reasonably be interpreted to demonstrate your intention to sell or otherwise distribute the drugs that are in evidence.
What kind of evidence does that? Very often, it’s the quantity of the drugs that are found in your possession that starts the prosecution toward a distribution charge. A small amount of drugs can reasonably be presumed to be yours for personal use — but anything over that tiny amount suddenly becomes “proof” that you were intending to sell it.
Naturally, the prosecution hopes to find more evidence that you’re guilty of the more serious charge of intent to distribute. If the police find items in your possession that would typically make distribution or sale of the drugs easier, that’s another type of proof (and, usually, more charges).
Unfortunately, almost anything can conceivably be part of the evidence that gets piled onto your case, including pipes, bowls and rolling papers used for marijuana. Plastic baggies, like the kind used for sandwiches, are used to separate many types of drugs into smaller amounts for sale. A food scale is another “distribution tool.” So are things like tinfoil (which can be used in place of plastic bags or even twisted into shape to serve as a pipe). The problem, you may realize, is that many of those things are commonly found in households anyhow — so what actually is meant for drug use is open to interpretation.
Cash money is another piece of “evidence” that the prosecution will use to present its case that you’re engaged in drug distribution. If you have a significant amount of cash in your possession, the prosecution may automatically assume that you’ve got it from dealing drugs — even if its just the cash from your most recent paycheck.
Charges involving the intention to distribute drugs are extremely serious — and not something anyone should ever try to handle on their own. Exercise your right to remain silent and seek help as soon as possible.