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Possession With Intent to Distribute or Sell Controlled Substances Charges in Florida

Possessing a controlled substance intending to sell or distribute it is a crime under both Florida and federal law. At Musca Law, our skilled and qualified Florida Drug Crime Defense Attorneys are highly familiar with the elements of the crime of possession with intent to sell that must be established in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction. These elements, under Florida Statutes Section 893.12(1)(a), include the following:

  • The accused knew what the substance was;
  • The substance was a controlled substance pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 893.03;
  • The accused had the substance in his or her possession (either constructive or actual possession); and
  • The accused had the intention of selling, manufacturing, or delivering the substance.

As noted, possession can be either constructive or actual, which means that the prosecution must establish that the accused had control over the substance or had personal charge of it – even if it was not directly on his or her person.

Some of the substances that are the subject of intent to sell cases include, without limitation, the following:

  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs such as Hydrocodone, Codeine, Valium, Vicodin, Adderall, Oxycodone, and Xanax)
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • GHB
  • Methamphetamines
  • Ecstasy

Evidence that Applies in Possession to Distribute With Intention Matters

In most cases, the accused does not intend to sell the substances in his or her possession, and prosecutors are aware of this fact. However, they will seek to include the intent to sell charge in simple possession cases in an effort to influence the accused to enter into an unfavorable plea deal.

In many instances, a skilled and experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney can zealously defend the accused and seek to negotiate a favorable plea deal on a much lesser offense like simple possession, if the case is not outright dismissed. However, there are some things that can cause the cards to be stacked against the accused, which include, without limitation, the following elements:

  • Sizeable amounts of money in or around the property or vehicle where the drugs were found.
  • Packaging such as bags uncovered close to or in the property or vehicle that are most commonly associated with the sale of controlled substances.
  • The presence of testing kits, mixing devices, rolling papers, and other kinds of drug paraphernalia that are most commonly associated with the sale of controlled substances.
  • Firearms such as guns and other dangerous weapons that are uncovered in or around the property or vehicle where the controlled substances were found.
  • The amount and kind of controlled substance uncovered.

Of course, it is important to understand that the above elements do not singularly serve as foolproof evidence that a person had the intention of selling the controlled substances uncovered by law enforcement (except there is a confession). However, this does not mean that the prosecution won’t try to seek a conviction for the aforesaid offense.

If the controlled substances uncovered by law enforcement are found in excess of drug trafficking amounts, then such a charge will likely be pursued by the prosecution, notwithstanding the other evidence. However, the intention to sell controlled substances is a way to enhance simple drug possession charges, even when the amount of the drugs uncovered is low.

Penalties Associated with an Intent to Sell Drugs Charge

Under Florida Statutes Sections 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084, they outline the penalties associated with a possession of drugs with the intention of selling them in Florida. Generally speaking, the penalties for the possession of drugs with the intention of selling them are broken down by the schedule classification of the control substance, which are as follows:

  • Schedule I and certain Schedule II controlled substances – this constitutes a felony in the second degree, which is associated with a fifteen-year prison term and a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.
  • Schedule III, Schedule IV, and certain Schedule II controlled substances – this constitutes a felony in the third degree, which is associated with a five-year prison term and a monetary fine not to exceed $5,000.
  • Schedule IV controlled substances – this constitutes a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is associated with a one-year prison term and a monetary fine not to exceed $1,000.

The above penalties are significantly enhanced from the baseline for charges associated with simple possession, which is why they are often pursued by the prosecution. Keep in mind that the penalties associated with a simple possession charge can be enhanced by a variety of factors, which include, without limitation, the following: whether a firearm or other dangerous weapon was uncovered by law enforcement that was seemingly involved in the commission of the crime, whether the crime happened that was associated with a gang, whether the alleged incident occurred close to a school, and if the accused has a criminal record.

Challenging the Charge of Possession with the Intention of Selling Controlled Substances

The consequences associated with drug crimes are very serious, which is why it is critical for an accused to hire a skilled and experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer.

There are a variety of defenses that are available to challenge such a charge, which usually can be reduced to simple drug possession, if successful. If the prosecution cannot establish the basic elements of drug possession charges, the case will most likely be dismissed. Sometimes there is the chance to challenge the legality of the evidence obtained due to an improper search and seizure conducted by law enforcement. The intention aspect of the case can also be challenged, such as the presence of a weapon or large amounts of money, which was merely a coincidence, and not indicative of intending to sell controlled substances.

Musca Law: Advocates for Those Accused of Drug Possession with the Intent to Distribute or Sell

Count on Musca Law’s Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys for aggressive representation. A skilled legal advocate will assess all of the factors involved to determine the best defense strategy for your case. An experienced and well-trained attorney will examine the type of charges brought against you, the availability of witnesses who could refute the state’s claims, and the availability of evidence before deciding on the best strategy to defend your case. Call Musca Law immediately at 888-484-5057 if you have been charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute or sell. Do not represent yourself, as your life, liberty, and freedom are at stake. Contact Musca Law now to preserve your legal rights. We look forward to making a difference for you!

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