Maine drug charges typically come in three varieties: possession, furnishing and trafficking. Separate issues are the type of drug and the quantity, but for this post I just want to focus on the difference between possession, furnishing and trafficking. Under Maine law, possession can either be actual or constructive. Actual possession exists where the thing is in the physical control, or immediate occupancy of the party. Courts have held that constructive possession means "the accused has `constructive possession' of a chattel where he has knowledge of its presence coupled with the ability to maintain control over it or reduce it to his physical possession, even though he does not have actual personal dominion."
Maine law defines furnishing as:
A. To furnish, give, dispense, administer, prescribe, deliver or otherwise transfer to another; or [PL 2021, c. 396, §2 (AMD).]
B. To possess with the intent to do any act mentioned in paragraph A
Maine law defines trafficking as:
A. To make, create, manufacture;
B. To grow or cultivate, except for marijuana;
C. To sell, barter, trade, exchange or otherwise furnish for consideration; or
D. To possess with the intent to do any act mentioned in paragraph C.
It is important to note that wither either furnishing or trafficking, the State includes within the definition possession plus the intent to do the acts that would constitute furnishing or trafficking. This means that if person A possesses a drug, but does so with the intent to furnish or traffick the drug to person B, person A is guilty of possession and furnishing or trafficking; despite the fact that person A has not actually conveyed the drug to person B.
In many cases, the State will charge furnishing or trafficking despite only having physical proof of possession. However, based upon other evidence, most often including the drug quantity involved, the State will charge furnishing or trafficking based upon the circumstances.
The easiest way to define each is that possession means simply that, it is possession alone with no evidence of any intent to convey. Furnishing is possession plus a conveyance or the intent to convey without any consideration. Consideration is regularly seen in contract law, and it means an exchange of value, ie some kind of bargain. In drug cases we usually see drugs exchanged for money. In furnishing cases there is no proof of any exchange of value. The drugs are essentially given without any compensation. Finally, trafficking is what we think of as "dealing." This is where drugs are being exchanged for something of value. Sometimes an individual is charged with trafficking simply because the quantity possessed is inconsistent with personal possession. It's a little bit like assuming that some of it must be for sale because there's too much for one person.
Maine drug charges can be very complex; but they will always be either possession of drugs, furnishing of drugs or trafficking in drugs.
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