Did you know that over 1.5 million Floridians use illegal drugs at any given point in time? Florida has issues with drug abuse and the selling and manufacturing of illegal substances. If you’ve been arrested for possessing illegal substances with the intent to sell or deliver, you need to understand the law so you know what your rights are and how you can defend yourself.
This article will explain what possession with intent to sell or deliver is and how you can defend your rights.
What is Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver?
According to Florida Statute, Section 893.13, it is illegal for a person to “sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance.”
There is a difference between simple possession and possession with the intent to sell or deliver. It’s up to the authorities to determine, for each specific case, which level of possession they will charge you with. When making the decision to charge for intent to sell or deliver, authorities typically look at:
- The amount of drugs in someone’s possession. If there’s a large quantity, then the illegal act will more likely be charged as intent to sell or deliver.
- How the drugs are packaged.
- If there are any sales or debt records.
- If there are large amounts of cash or weapons at the scene.
- If there are sales paraphernalia like scales or clear plastic bags.
Possession with the intent to sell is a more serious crime and will have harsher penalties.
What are the Penalties for Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver?
In the criminal justice system, possession of an illegal substance with the intention to sell or deliver may be counted as either a second or third degree felony. This classification is based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.
A person charged with a third degree felony will face up to 5 years in prison and must pay up to a $5,000 fine.
A person charged with a second degree felony will face up to 15 years in prison and must pay up to a $10,000 fine.
There are a number of factors that the prosecutor may consider when making this determination: whether the defendant had merchandise or drugs in their possession, whether they made any attempts to sell or deliver the substances, and whether they had prior drug convictions. Regardless of the classification of possession with intent to sell or deliver, a conviction can result in a lengthy prison sentence and extensive criminal record.
For example the possession of cannabis, which is classified as a Schedule I substance, with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver is considered a felony of the third degree. The possession of cocaine, which is classified as a Schedule II substance, with the intent to sell is considered a felony of the second degree. This shows how different kinds and amounts of drugs determine the severity of the penalty.
What The Prosecution Must Prove
The State Attorney’s Office has the burden of proving beyond a shadow of doubt each of the following elements:
- The defendant was in possession of a certain drug with the purpose to sell the substance, produce the substance, or deliver the substance;
- According to the definition given in Section 893.03 of the Florida Statutes, the drug in question was a controlled substance;
- The defendant was aware that the substance was used for illegal purposes.
Often the prosecution attempts a possession with intent to sell charge so they can enact a harsher penalty and intimidate the defendant. However, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, and it can be difficult to prove that the defendant had the intent to sell the illegal substances.
Reasons to Employ a Criminal Defense Attorney
The less severe crime of possessing a controlled drug is sometimes misclassified by law enforcement officials as the more severe offense of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute.
While it can be simple for the officer to document the more severe crime, the prosecution often has a hard time demonstrating that the defendant is guilty of the charge in court.
It is possible that the prosecutor will choose not to bring any charges, file charges of lesser severity, or pursue charges of higher severity. When faced with opposition from defense attorneys, the prosecution may drop the “intent to sell” charge and just pursue a “simple possession” charge. In many cases, a prosecutor may be persuaded not to pursue the more severe charge if the criminal defense counsel is knowledgeable and skilled, and this is why it’s crucial to hire a strong defense attorney.
If you are in the Sarasota area and are charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer. At Hanlon Law, our attorneys have years of experience defending people’s rights. Our team has worked numerous cases involving drugs such as marijuana, meth, prescription fraud, and many more. We will work with you to ensure your rights are upheld, and we will fight for the best possible outcome with your case.
If you or someone you know is facing possession with intent to sell or deliver charges, contact our legal team today.
1605 Main St Ste 1115
Sarasota, FL 34236