What is Intent to Sell and Deliver?

Many people think that possession charges aren’t a big deal, but then they find themselves with charges for possession with the intent to sell or deliver. This offense carries stiff penalties and can result in years behind bars. Understanding this crime and when you can be charged with it is the first step in your defense.

When Can You Be Charged with Intent to Sell?

You can face North Carolina intent to sell charges when you have:

  • Unlawful possession of a controlled substance
  • Knowledge that the item was in your possession and is an illegal substance
  • The intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture the controlled substance

We break each of these legal elements down further.


The prosecutor must show that you knew that you possessed a controlled substance to convict you. Additionally, the state must prove that you knew you were manufacturing, transporting, or possessing the substance to sell it.


Knowledge and possession go hand in hand. Two forms of possession can result in criminal charges:

  • Actual possession – Actual possession occurs when you are knowingly in possession of the drug, such as when you have it in your pocket and know it is a drug.
  • Constructive possession – Constructive possession means that you know the drug is there and have the power and intent to control it. Constructive possession allegations may arise if police find drugs in your home or car where the drugs are not actually on you, but you seem to control the environment where they are found.

Intent to Sell, Deliver, or Manufacture

Finally, North Carolina law requires the prosecutor to prove that you had the drugs with the intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture them, meaning:

  • Sell – Sell means to exchange something of value for the drugs. This can be money or something else of value.
  • Deliver – Deliver means to transport the drugs but does not necessarily require the use of a vehicle.
  • Manufacture – Manufacturing drugs means compounding substances, processing, producing, or propagating them.

Classifications of Controlled Substances in North Carolina

North Carolina law identifies controlled substances and classifies each under one of six “schedules” of drugs. These include Schedule 1 drugs that have a higher likelihood for abuse (such as heroin and opiates) to Schedule VI drugs that have a low potential for abuse (like marijuana).

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in North Carolina

The potential penalties you can face for possession with the intent to sell depend on the particular drug involved.

Possession with the intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture a controlled substance that is listed under Schedule I or II is a class H felony. This offense carries a maximum prison sentence of 39 months.

Possession with the intent to sell, deliver, or manufacture a drug that falls under Schedule III, IV, V, or VI is a Class I felony. This level of offense carries a maximum penalty of 24 months’ imprisonment.

How a Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing charges for possession with the intent to sell, the seasoned criminal defense lawyers at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC are in your corner. We have proudly served the residents of Raleigh since 1998 and will fight to protect your freedom. Contact us today so that we can begin taking immediate steps to protect your legal rights.