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The Champion

July 2010 , Page 18 

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Possession for Sale: When is Enough, Enough?

By Stephen M. Pittell Ph.D.

The prosecution of cases alleging possession of drugs for sale is frequently based on the weight of the substances found in the subject’s possession.1 Because no objective standards exist for determining how much of a controlled substance constitutes evidence of possession for sale, convictions in such cases are often based on the opinions of arresting officers. In some cases, prosecutors use highly trained officers certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to bolster the testimony of less experienced arresting officers. This article discusses the typical evidence used in these cases and techniques that can be used to rebut such evidence. The following three fact patterns are drawn from actual cases in which the author participated.

Examples From the Front Lines

Case One
After committing a traffic violation, a young man was arrested and charged with possession for sale of methamphetamine. He possessed 6.4 grams of the drug in three separate plastic stamp bags.

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