Possession with the Intent to Sell & Deliver Drugs Lawyer

At Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, our criminal lawyers are devoted to helping clients with intent to sell & deliver cases. There are so many different varieties of intent to sell drugs charges, that it’s vital to take a look at the level of the crime and the substance involved. Intent to sell and deliver charges are felony cases, and the are often referred to as PWISD or PWIMSD cases. PWISD and PWIMSD are acronyms for Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver and Possession with the Intent to Manufacture, Sell and Deliver Drugs. In a lot of situations our drug lawyers are able to have the District Attorney’s Office reduce the charges to either possession and even a misdemeanor in some circumstances. Let’s look at how these cases work and answer some of the common questions associated with possession with the intent to sell and deliver controlled substances.

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Table of Contents

What are the Elements of Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Sell & Deliver?

Found in North Carolina General Statute 90-95(a)(1).

A person guilty of this offense

  1. Knowingly
  2. Possesses
  3. A Controlled Substance
  4. With the Intent to Sell or Deliver It

What is the Punishment for Intent to Sell and Deliver Drugs Cases?

Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Drugs Cases are always Felony Cases and from there it varies based on the type of drug. In North Carolina, drugs are distinguished by Schedules, with Schedule I being the most severe, such as opium, and Schedule VI being the least severe, which is marijuana.

For Schedule I, opium and Schedule II, cocaine, Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver those drugs is a Class H felony.

For Schedules III, IV, V &  VI, it’s a Class I Felony.

Below is a Felony Sentencing Chart prepared by our drug lawyers so you can distinguish between H & I Felony charges and you can combine this with your record level to get a better understanding of what you’re facing if you’re charged.

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What does it mean to Knowingly Possesses a Controlled Substance?

Known possession, or if a controlled substance is found in an area or on premises controlled by the person charged this allows an inference that the person knowingly possessed the controlled substance.

For example, State v. Harvey, 281 NC 1, 13 (1972), the court found that evidence of track marks on the defendant’s arms was enough to establish the Knowingly element for possession. In State v Robledo, the court found that signing for a UPS package containing drugs was enough. In another case, State v. Harris, a person had a positive urinalysis for marijuana, but the courts found that this was not enough to show knowing possession of marijuana.

What does it mean to possess drugs?

Possession of Drugs in North Carolina, focuses on two major areas: actual possession of the drugs and constructive possession of the drugs.

What is actual possession of drugs?

Actual Possession is when the drugs has it on or about his or her person. For instance, drugs in your pants pocket. The rules around actual possession are:

  1. The drugs are on the person
  2. The person is aware of the presence of the drugs
  3. And either alone or with others, the person has the power and intent to control its disposition or use.

Meaning the drugs are in your pocket, from the circumstances it seems you’re aware the drugs are there and from the circumstances you have the ability to do something with the drugs.

What is constructive possession of drugs?

Constructive possession is the central issue of a lot of our drug cases. Typically, constructive possession involves drug cases where the drugs aren’t on you, but they are somewhere near you or in a place you have the intent and capability to control and dominion over the drugs.

Our drug attorneys will go over some examples here as it will make it easier to understand constructive possession, and how these cases operate in North Carolina.

One major rule is if a person has exclusive possession of the place where the item containing drugs is found, typically this would be a house or a car, then this is typically enough to establish intent and capability to maintain control over the drugs for constructive possession purposes.

An example of this is if you’re driving your car and you’re the only person in the car. They find marijuana in the center console, you don’t have actual possession of the weed because it’s not on you. However, the courts would find your have constructive possession of the weed because you have sole possession of the vehicle that contains the drugs, and this holds true regardless of whether it’s your weed. Let’s say it’s not your car, this could be an argument against the court finding you possessed the weed, but sole control, or being the only person in a car, is enough to get you charged with possession regardless of whether or not it was yours.

One key fact for constructive possession is do you have exclusive control at the time they find the drugs? Are you the only person in the car or the only person in the house where the drugs are found? If so, this will be a knock against you. This isn’t to say these facts are enough to convict you, however it’s enough to charge and the State of North Carolina to move forward with their case.

If you’re not the only person in the house or the car – then this would mean that the state would need to show incriminating evidence to support a finding of constructive possession.

Let’s say police search a house, they find a pipe with marijuana residue and this would be enough to charge someone with possession of drug paraphernalia or marijuana paraphernalia. However, there are three people in the house, and each of them were not in the room where the pipe was found. Without some extra incriminating fact showing one of them possessed it there may not be enough for constructive possession. This is always a question for the courts though.

Another question for constructive possession is how close are you to the drugs? State v. Miller, found that constructive possession was established because the drugs were within arms reach. Proximity, or how close you are to the drugs is a very important fact in constructive possession cases. But the rules on proximity and exclusive control get brought together to create some interesting case law.

State v. Barron, 202 NC APP 686 (2010) – cocaine was found in a home not belonging to the person charged. The drugs were about three feet away from the person charged was standing. Police also found a crack pipe 2.5 feet away from the person charged with drug paraphernalia. The controlling issue here is the person did not have actual possession because nothing was on them and they were at someone else’s house. The drugs were close to him, but the courts found it wasn’t close enough, and the courts found that there needed to be further incriminating circumstances in order to find constructive possession or the cocaine and crack pipe.

State v. Autry – 101 NC APP 245 (1991) – person was found in a hallway and police located drugs inside of a bedroom that connected to the hallway. Two other people were present at the time of the search. Courts found they needed more incriminating facts against the person in the hallway to find constructive possession.

In North Carolina, being present in a room where drugs are found and the only person in that room has been found to not be enough without further facts.

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What is a Controlled Substance?

A controlled substance in North Carolina is classified between Schedule I, which is heroin, to Schedule VI which is marijuana. Below is a brief list and examples of the six different schedules of controlled substances in North Carolina. If you want to find out more here is a link to Chapter 90, which is includes the Schedule of almost every drug in North Carolina.

Schedule I – no medical use, but high probability of abuse / addiction – LSD, opiates, ecstasy, mushrooms, etc.

Schedule II – have accepted medical use, but high potential for addiction – cocaine, crack cocaine, codeine

Schedule III – accepted medical use, but low to moderate abuse – ketamine, steroids, testosterone, etc.

Schedule IV – medical use and even lower potential for abuse – Xanax, valium, Ambien, etc.

Schedule V – Even lower potential for abuse – antidiarrheal, cough syrups, etc.

Schedule VI – no accepted medical use, insignificant probability for abuse – marijuana

What does intent to sell or deliver mean?

Our drug lawyers will tell you firsthand that this is one of the more interesting issues we deal with in courthouses throughout North Carolina. The District Attorney is going to attempt to use the circumstances surrounding your case to show that the drugs you possessed were not for personal use but that you had the intent to sell and deliver the drugs. They’ll look at packaging, labeling, where and how it was stored, what you were doing, how much cash you had, and whether your had scales or other paraphernalia to help illustrate that you had the intent to sell and deliver the drugs you possessed.

Is there a certain amount for intent to sell or deliver?

No, there isn’t – in North Carolina 1 gram of marijuana could technically be possessed with the intent to sell and deliver based on the circumstances surrounding the case.

But the quantity of the drug is something they will look at. In North Carolina, State v. Morgan, 329 NC 654 decided in 1991 held that intent to sell and deliver drugs may be inferred from the following:

  • The packaging of the controlled substance – the number of baggies,
  • The labeling of the controlled substance,
  • The storage of the controlled substance,
  • The person’s activities,
  • The presence of cash, and
  • The presence of drug paraphernalia, such as scales.

There are numerous cases which have been used to help form what we understand possession with intent to sell and deliver cases throughout North Carolina. Realize that these cases have been decided in front of different judges and justices through the years and that the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court we currently have may very well decide these cases differently. These cases are precedent, or they give the court a rationale basis for which to decide the next case, but no two cases are exactly the same.

Intent to Sell & Deliver Drugs Cases

State v. Baxter (1974), found that the required intent for sell and deliver was found from the amount of marijuana (219 grams) + the packaging (16 separate envelopes) + the presence of other packaging materials (28 empty envelopes).

State v. Williams (1983) – 2.7 grams of heroin, drug paraphernalia and fifteen tinfoil squares.

State v. Morgan – .75 grams of cocaine and evidence of being purchased from previously.

State v. Alston (1988) – 4.27 grams of cocaine along with twenty separate envelopes & a large amount of cash.

State v. Davis (2003) – 20 grams of cocaine, packaged separately in close proximity to money.

State v. McNeil (2004) – 5.5 grams of crack individually wrapped in 22 pieces

State v. Baldwin (2003) – 414.5 grams of marijuana, surveillance equipment, guns, and bag with cutting agent for cocaine.

But there also have been numerous cases that have found there was insufficient evidence, or not enough evidence, to support the intent to sell and deliver a controlled substances.

State v. Wiggins (1977) – person possessed 215.5 grams of weed

State v. Turner (2005) person possessed 10 rocks of crack cocaine, but no incriminating statements, and no behavior or indication showing drug transactions.

State v. Nettles (2005) – person possessed 5 crack rocks weighing 1.2 grams.

State v. Wilkins (2010) – person possessed 1.89 grams of marijuana separated in 3 separate packages, worth about $30 total and he had $1264 on his person.

What are the Different types of PWISD Cases and what type of punishment do they face?


Possession with the Intent to Sell or Deliver Marijuana is a Class I Felony. Class I is the lowest level felony a person can be charged with. With a Class I felony you have the opportunity at probation but also face the prospect of active time. Sentences can range from 3 Months all the way up to 24 Months in Custody. Our PWISD Marijuana Lawyers have handled a lot of Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana Cases. A lot of times these cases are overcharged and based merely on the quantity of drugs found or the fact that the Marijuana is found in separate baggies. We utilize the facts that show there wasn’t an intent to sell and deliver weed to help you. Contact our PWISD Marijuana lawyers in Greensboro today!


Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine is a Class H Felony. Class H Felonies are the second lowest felony a person can be charged with H. With Class H Felony charges you can possibly receive probation but you also face the prospect of active time. Cocaine and Crack Cocaine face the same level of a charge at the state level in North Carolina. If it’s crack cocaine case, the quantity is based on the total weight of the rock, they do not break down the rock to figure out the quantity as the statute reads any combination thereof. Our PWISD Cocaine lawyers have handled tons of Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine cases and you can face anywhere from 4 Months up to 39 months in Custody. These cases focus on quantity and the packaging, along with whether or not you’re found with money. Our PWISD Cocaine Attorneys have handled more of these situations than we can count and have helped a lot of clients have the PWISD Cocaine charge reduced to Possession of Cocaine, and in some cases we’ve managed to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. To learn more about Cocaine cases, click here: Greensboro Cocaine Lawyer


Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Heroin cases are also Class H Felonies. Similar to Cocaine, a Class H Felony is the second lowest felony you can be charged with. PWISD Heroin cases can result in a probation sentence if convicted but can also lead to jail time. Our PWISD Heroin lawyers have spent years helping clients, just like you, charged with Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Heroin and have often found ways to have the charges reduced, prevent jail time, and in some cases, have been able to have these cases dismissed. Every case is different, but this is why you should contact our PWISD Heroin lawyers in Greensboro, NC today to help you with your situation as soon as possible.


According to Weekly Crime Data that Greensboro Police department releases every week; PWISD Drugs and related drug charges in Greensboro are down across Guilford County. There have been 2473 Drug charges in Greensboro, NC this year through October 2022. This is about 6% increase from where our city was last year. GPD has also seized 1293 Firearm in 2022 alone.

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“Jason is the best attorney I have ever worked with in my entire life and I was absolutely blessed to find him. Jason worked with me on my case for nearly two years and eventually negotiated with the district attorney (DA) to have my charges dismissed. Given the uniqueness of my case and my situation, he never gave up and continued to try to work with the DA to have my case dismissed. After several deals I refused from the DA, Jason continued to show the same tenacity from day one of working with me, which eventually led to a decision that worked in my favor. I can honestly say without a doubt if I had hired any other attorney, my case would have been resolved much differently. Jason was such a pleasure to work with and always helped me keep my chin up when I was saddened about possible outcomes. He went far and beyond the call of duty to help me through my case and I can’t thank him enough. If you’re looking for an attorney who cares and will continue to work with you through the thick and thin, hire Jason.”Client Review

– Kelvin S.


Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, is located at 317 S. Greene St., Greensboro, NC 27401. We’re located across the street from the Carolina Theater in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. Our phone number is 336-379-0539. We have a big grey building with Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson across the top of the building and we have our own parking lot which you can use to come speak with our criminal defense lawyers.