Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Cocaine Possession with Intent to Deliver Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Cocaine Possession with Intent to Deliver Charges in Iowa

In Iowa, a person who possesses cocaine with the intent to deliver it to another person commits a serious felony charge, under Iowa Code Section 124.401.  Iowa law provides for harsh penalties for those convicted of possession with the intent to deliver cocaine.


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For powder cocaine, Iowa law calls for a 10 year prison term for those convicted of possessing with the intent to deliver under 100 grams.  The possible penalties increase to as high as 50 years if the weight of cocaine exceeds 500 grams.  In addition to the prison terms, Iowa law also provides for fine, seizure, and forfeit of property associated with alleged drug dealing.

Crack cocaine (also called “cocaine base”) is treated even more seriously under Iowa law than powder cocaine.  An as example, just 10 grams of crack cocaine is enough for a Class B felony charge, which is punishable by a 25 year prison term.  It would take 10 times as much powder cocaine for a person to face such a charge under Iowa law.  If the amount of crack cocaine is increased to only 50 grams, then Iowa law provides for a 50 year prison sentence for those convicted of possession with intent to deliver, along with a fine of up to $1,000,000.00.

In Iowa, for a person to be in “possession” of cocaine the state does not have to prove that the person actually personally possessed the cocaine.  Instead, if the state can prove that a person was having someone else possess it for them, or otherwise had dominion and control over the cocaine, it can be enough for the state to obtain a conviction.  An common example is situations where the state claims that a person had another person (often a juvenile) hold the cocaine for them as it was being delivered.


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In terms of the “intent to deliver” element of the crime, the state has the burden of proving that a person intended to convey the cocaine to someone else, rather than to use it personally.  Often the prosecution will hope to use evidence of quantity, digital scales, packing materials, or controlled buys of cocaine, to show that intent to deliver. Many possession with intent to deliver cases in Iowa center upon that issue, and it is a defense to the possession with intent to deliver charge to be able to show that the cocaine was for personal use.  Since Iowa has misdemeanor charges for possession of small amounts of cocaine, it is sometimes possible for a serious felony case to become a misdemeanor case through that route.

As the foregoing makes clear, possession with the intent to deliver cocaine in Iowa is a serious charge that can result in a prison sentence that lasts many decades.  A person who faces such a charge should promptly consult with an attorney as properly handling the case is of the highest importance.


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