Whether you or a loved one has been arrested, or are under investigation for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, it is critical to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. You need the counsel of an experienced Miami possession with intent to sell attorney to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.
What is Possession with Intent to Sell?
Under Florida law, a person may not sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance. While the terms “selling,” “manufacturing,” and “delivering” clearly define the prohibited conduct, whether someone can be charged with “possession with intent to sell” is a little more complicated.
First, the law requires that the person possess the controlled substance. The State can prove a defendant possessed the substance in one of two ways: by actual possession or by constructive possession. But unlike a simple possession case, possession with intent requires that person also have the state of mind to sell, manufacture, or deliver the controlled substance he or she possesses. But how do you determine a person’s state of mind or intent? Assuming you can’t just ask the person (or the person doesn’t make any admissions about what he or she planned on doing with the drugs) how is it possible to know what a person plans on doing?
Florida courts have highlighted a number of different factors that the State can use to prove a person has the required intent.
- Any statements by the person admitting that they intended to sell the drugs
- Statements by other people indicating the defendant had the intent to sell
- The amount or quantity of the drugs the person possessed
- The way the drugs were packaged
- The presence of guns or other weapons
- The presence of a large amount of cash
- Where the drugs were discovered
- The presence of drug paraphernalia (baggies, scales, etc.)
- The presence of other things or objects related to selling drugs
- Past sales by the person closely related in time
Oftentimes, in cases where the State does not have any admissions/statements by the defendant, the central issue becomes whether the drugs in question were “inconsistent with personal use.” Just because a person is caught with a seemingly large quantity of drugs doesn’t necessarily mean that they intended to sell them. In these cases, the law usually requires that some additional factors listed above be present that would tend to prove an intent to sell. It’s important to point out that a person can be charged with drug trafficking just by possessing higher quantities of a controlled substance. In these cases, the State is not required to prove intent at all. They only have to prove that the person possessed the drugs.
Punishment for Possession with Intent to Sell
If you are convicted of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, you will ordinarily face a maximum prison sentence of five (5) years in the case of a third-degree felony or fifteen (15) years for a second-degree felony. Possession with intent to sell cannabis, for example, is a third-degree felony while possession with intent to sell cocaine would be a second-degree felony. In certain cases, the location where the person allegedly possessed the drugs can dramatically increase the possible punishment. If a person is caught within 1,000 feet of a school, church, or park, for example, they can be charged with a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and also face a minimum-mandatory prison sentence.
Defenses to Possession with Intent to Sell
Besides arguing that you didn’t have the required intent to sell, the same defenses that can be raised in a simple possession of a controlled substance case can also be raised in a possession with intent case. Possible defense include:
- Having a valid prescription for the drug
- Lack of possession (this defense can be raised when there is an issue as to the person’s “dominion and control” over the substance)
- Lack of knowledge (this is also known as “unwitting possession”)
- The drug isn’t what the State alleges is to be
- The police officers conducted an illegal search and/or seizure
- Someone planted the drugs
Over the years, we have represented hundreds of clients in a wide range of drug crimes cases. There is a good chance that we have dealt with your type of case and have represented clients who shared similar needs and concerns that you may have. Feel free to browse through the results section of our site for a representative sample of some of our past cases, and the results we have achieved for our clients.
Possession with Intent Jury Instructions – Florida criminal jury instructions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in Word format.
Possession with Intent (Specified Locations) Jury Instructions – Florida criminal jury instructions for possession of a controlled substance in specified locations, in Word format.
Contact an Experienced Miami Possession with Intent Attorney
By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami possession with intent attorney, you are minimizing the chances that your criminal case will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation. CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our securely encrypted intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
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