Can you be charged with selling drugs if the informant receives no drugs?

Q: If someone agrees to sell someone drugs during an attempted controlled buy to the cops and the person realizes what is going on and then refuses to sell the drugs, can the person still be charged? The informant never received drugs and still has the buy money? In other words, do the police need the drugs in hand as evidence to charge someone with selling drugs? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: I would need more information to give a definitive answer. However, based on what you say, I think the “someone” may be charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver, a Felony. This would be based on that “someone” possessing drugs, and behavior consistent with an intention to distribute, even if no distribution occurs. I advise the someone to find a lawyer as there may be enough facts to work with to have the charge bargained down to Possession.

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