The Role of Intent in Drug Crime Cases in Indiana

When accused of committing a crime, especially a drug crime, you may face harsh penalties in Indiana. However, those penalties may worsen if the prosecution states you were committing a crime intending to do more. It can have harsh effects on your future and your case.

However, you may be unsure what intent means for your case. Understanding or vital to understanding the drug charges against you and defending your case against them.

What is Intent?

Intent refers to a plan to commit further crime, such as the intent to possess drugs for the purpose of using them under Indiana Code 35-48-4-7. This is a vital element to constructing a case against you for crimes that may not have yet been committed but are planned. This distinguishes those who made a mistake from those who planned to break the law.

For example, you may have been accused of drug possession. However, you may argue that you had a lack of knowledge that the drugs were on your person. In these cases, you may have a lack of intent because you are unaware that you had drugs to begin with.

Intent can also refer to the plan to commit other crimes. For example, if you have a large quantity of drugs on your person, the police may suspect you have intent to sell or distribute the drugs, as defined under Indiana Code 35-31.5-2-100. This has much harsher penalties for those who may have been possessing amounts for personal use.

Intent May Impact the Penalties You Face

If you lack intent, in some cases, you may not have been committing a crime at all. However, proving a lack of intent can be challenging. So what happens if you do not defend yourself?

If you accept accusations that you intended to commit a drug crime, the criminal charges against you may be more serious. There are five classes or levels of felonies under Indiana Code 35-48-4, and you may be enhanced if the court finds that you committed the crime with intent.

As many drug crimes are felonies, they can be devastating for your future. You may find yourself dealing with the most serious case type, a Level 1 felony. That can lead to decades of imprisonment, including fines that haunt you even after you finish your sentence.

Defenses when Accused of Committing a Drug Crime With Intent

When accused of committing a drug crime with intent, building an appropriate defense can help you make the right decisions for your case. We can review the details of your case and help you decide on an appropriate defense. Below are some of the more common defenses when accused of a drug crime.

Lack of Knowledge

In some cases, you may argue that you lacked knowledge that you had that substance in your possession. For example, you may have been driving a friend’s car, not knowing that they had drugs in the vehicle. That lack of knowledge can impact intent, as you could not intend to commit the crime if you did not know about it.

Lack of Specific Intent

Sometimes, you may claim you lacked specific intent to break the law. This defense typically refers to cases where you only possessed the drugs for personal use. If you did not have specific intent to manufacture for the purpose of sale, it can greatly reduce the charges against you.