On Thursday, April 14, a 30-year-old Jacksonville, NC man was stopped by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Team. Although news reports do not reveal why Andrew James Sanderford was stopped by officers, he now faces felony drug charges.
According to news reports, the officers discovered heroin inside Sanderford’s vehicle along with drug paraphernalia. He also allegedly has outstanding warrants. Sanderford is now charged with a single count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell heroin, a felony charge. At last news reports he was in the Onslow County Jail under a $30,000 bond.
The media reports contain very few details, so we can only speculate as to why Sanderford was charged with possession with intent to distribute/deliver heroin. Police generally submit a charging request to the prosecutor, who then decides whether an individual will be charged with a crime, and what the charge will be. In cases involving illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, or other drugs, police and prosecutors often make their decision regarding whether someone should be charged with simple possession or possession with intent based on the amount of drug in that person’s possession.
If an individual has an amount of drug in his/her possession that police/prosecutors determine would be more than the normal amount for his or her personal use, that individual may be charged with possession with intent to distribute, sell, deliver, etc. This is a felony charge, one that has consequences more serious than simple possession charges. Additionally, an individual may be in possession of drugs that appear to be packaged for the purpose of selling.
In every state including Michigan, possession with intent is a serious charge. The penalties in Michigan for those found guilty of possession of heroin with intent to deliver or distribute are severe, and vary depending on factors including criminal history and the amount of drug found in the offender’s possession. For instance, if someone has between 50 and 449 grams of heroin in his or her possession, the penalties include up to 20 years in prison and possible fines of up to $250,000. In the worst case scenario, a person may face life in prison.
If you have been charged with possession with intent to deliver or are under investigation, the first step you should take is to speak with a skilled Michigan drug crimes lawyer. It is important that your legal rights are protected from the very beginning, and a solid defense developed should your case go to trial. Without an experienced defense attorney, your freedom and future are in serous jeopardy.