Drug Possession with Intent to Sell
When law enforcement officers find a person in possession of a controlled substance, he or she likely will look for clues that could indicate the person intended to sell the drug. Florida is one of several states that has implemented tough drug policies since the unofficial war on drugs began. Officers in the Sunshine State will make every effort to clean up drug offenders, and this could mean harsh enforcement of the law.
If you are charged with possession with the intent to sell, it is important to know what you face. These charges often are considered more significant than simple possession offenses. This could mean an increase in fees and other penalties. However, a skilled drug defense attorney can fight to have your charges reduced or dropped.
St. Petersburg Possession with Intent to Sell Defense Lawyer
Drug charges can carry serious penalties, especially if you are accused of attempting to distribute controlled substances. If you have been arrested for drug possession with intent to sell in the Tampa Bay area, contact a St. Petersburg drug dealing defense attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A..
Managing partner and attorney Melinda Morris has years of experience on the other side of the law, and she can use her knowledge as a drug crimes prosecutor to help you get a favorable result. Your future is important, and our attorney can help you protect it.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free initial consultation. We can help you begin building a strong defense in your case.
Information About Possession with Intent
- Defining Possession
- Schedules of Drugs in Florida
- Potential Penalties for Possession with Intent Charges
- Fighting Drug Dealing Charges
Drug possession with intent to sell is a very broad offense that can involve almost any type of substance. The most common substances found in possession with intent to sell crimes in Florida can include:
- Prescription medications
- Marijuana or cannabis
The first step in a conviction for possession with the intent to sell is establishing the possession. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the alleged offender had either constructive or actual possession of the substance. If they are unable to prove this, the drug charges may be reduced to a lesser offense or even dismissed.
Actual possession involves having actual, physical control of the substance, such as on the alleged offender’s person or body. Actual possession also can involve possessing an item in a purse or wallet on the individual’s body or in the pocket of clothing they are wearing.
Constructive possession typically is harder for the prosecution to prove and usually involves the three following elements:
- The alleged offender was aware of the presence of the substance;
- The alleged offender knew the substance was, in fact, an illegal controlled substance; and
- The alleged offender had the intent to take actual control of the substance and they were able to take control.
Additionally, the prosecution must be able to prove the alleged offender had the intent to sell the substance. This often can be done based on other factors, such as if he or she had large amounts of the substance, how the substance was packaged and if he or she also had drug paraphernalia that could be used to package it.
For example, if a person is found to have 25 pounds of marijuana, several small bags, a scale and a large sum of cash, law enforcement officers likely would use these clues as an indication he or she planned to sell the cannabis.
Controlled substances in the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act are classified into five schedules, ranging from substances with most potential for abuse with little or no known medical purpose in Schedule I to substances with the least potential for abuse and commonly used medical purposes in Schedule V. According to Fla. Stat. § 893.03, the various schedules are defined as follows:
Schedule I — Substances in this schedule have the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical purpose in the United States. Examples of substances in Schedule I can include heroin, mushrooms, MDMA, ecstasy, and LSD.
Schedule II — Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, but some accepted medical purpose. Substances in Schedule II can include methamphetamines, also known as meth, cocaine, opium, hydrocodone and codeine.
Schedule III — Substances in this schedule have a lower potential for abuse than substances in Schedules I or II and have commonly used medical applications in the United States. An example of a substance in Schedule III can include steroids.
Schedule IV — Substances in this schedule have a lower likelihood of abuse than Schedule III substances and are commonly used for medical purposes in the United States. Examples of substances in Schedule IV can include Valium and Xanax.
Schedule V — Substances in this schedule have the lowest potential for abuse and have commonly used medical applications in the United States. Examples of substances in Schedule V can include stimulants and narcotics not listed in another schedule and medications with small amounts of opiates that also contain other active medicinal ingredients.
The penalties for a possession with intent to sell charge can vary depending on the schedule of the drug involved in the alleged offense. For instance, if a person is charged with possession with the intent to sell a Schedule I drug such as heroin, he or she likely would have more severe consequences compared to a person accused of attempting to see marijuana.
Although the following penalties are the suggested statutory penalties for this drug offense, they can increase depending on the type and amount of substance, whether a weapon was present or used in the commission of the offense, where the substance was sold and whether the alleged offender has a previous criminal history.
Some of the possible penalties for possession with intent to sell could include:
- Schedule I and some Schedule II substances — Second-degree felony charges, which is punishable by a prison sentence up to 15 years, a fine up to $10,000 or both
- Schedule III, Schedule IV and some Schedule II substances — Third-degree felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence up to five years, a fine up to $5,000 or both
- Schedule V — First-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a jail sentence up to one year, a fine up to $1,000 or both
Additional penalties could apply for a person who is convicted of drug possession with intent to sell. The conviction could result in a driver’s license suspension, additional fines, community service and probation. There also could be the burden of a criminal record without the opportunity to have the record sealed or expunged.
A conviction for possession with intent to sell drugs, controlled substances or narcotics in Florida can result in very serious repercussions and punishments, including driver’s license suspensions, a criminal record, ineligibility to pursue certain professions or occupations, prison sentences, and fines.
However, before a person can be convicted of the drug crime, the state prosecutor first must prove the alleged offender was guilty of committing every element to this possession offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden is very high and difficult to satisfy, as there can be a number of defenses or mitigating factors that will create doubt in the prosecution’s case.
The prosecutor must prove the person had actual or physical possession of the substance, in addition to having the intent to distribute the substance. Without evidence of the intent to sell the drugs, the prosecution could reduce the charges to possession of a controlled substance.
If you have been charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell throughout the Tampa Bay area of Florida, it is important to hire an experienced drug attorney who will you craft your best defense to the charges you are facing. Melinda Morris can examine your case to see which defense could best apply.
Finding A Pinellas County Possession with Intent Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for drug possession with intent to Sell, contact a St. Petersburg drug lawyer at Morris Law Firm, P.A. to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case. Call (727) 388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney or fill out our online form to be contacted for a free initial consultation.