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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
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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