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In Florida, possession of a controlled substance (drugs) with the “intent to sell” can be classified as a second or third degree felony, depending on the type of controlled substance involved. The penalties for this type of drug possession charge are severe. Often, defendants found in possession of drugs such as marijuana or cocaine will have their charges upgraded to “intent to sell” in order to extract harsher pleas.
If you have been arrested in Jacksonville, Florida for possession with intent to sell, contact an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your case and possible defenses. Our consultations are free and confidential.
Under Section 893.13(1)(a), Florida Statutes, it is unlawful for a person “to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance,” such as cannabis or cocaine. A violation of this section can be classified as a second or third degree felony, depending on the nature of the substance involved. Possession of cannabis (a Schedule 1 substance) with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver is classified as third degree felony, while possession of cocaine (Schedule 2) with intent to sell is classified as a second degree felony. Thus, depending on the facts of the case, an accused a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or fifteen years imprisonment.
To prove possession of drugs or a controlled substance with intent to sell, the prosecution must establish the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
Under Florida drug possession statute, the term “sell” means to transfer or deliver something to another person in exchange for money or something of value, or a promise of money or something of value. “Possession” means that the accused had personal charge of or exercised the right of ownership, management, or control over the thing possessed. Possession may be “actual” or “constructive” in nature. For a detailed discussion of the distinction between actual and constructive possession, see our Jacksonville Drug Possession Lawyer web page.
In most possession cases in Jacksonville, Florida, there is no intent to sell on part of the accused. This allegation is often added to simple possession cases to “trump” up the charge, intimidate the accused, and extract a harsher plea.
If the prosecution insists on enhancement for possession with intent to sell, they can use any number of evidentiary factors to prove up the charge, including:
Often, the factors cited by the prosecution as evidence of possession with intent to sell are consistent with personal use. Paraphernalia found on the premises may also serve a “dual use” purpose, which is consistent with legal activity. The prosecution may also find it difficult to prove that the accused himself was in possession of all the items that indicated an intent to sell.
In many Jacksonville, Florida prosecutions, there are strong factual defenses available to contest a charge of possession with intent to sell. For this reason, an attorney can frequently negotiate with the State to amend the charge to simple possession. If the State can not prove possession, the State’s entire case will fail.
Even where there are only weak factual defenses to a charge of possession with intent to sell, there may be grounds to challenge the legality of the underling police search or seizure. This is done through the filing of a Motion to Suppress. If granted, a Motion to Suppress may deprive the State of critical evidence needed to prove the case, and may result in a dismissal of dropping of the charges.
If you have been accused of possession with intent to sell, you may have defenses available to fight the charge or to mitigate potential penalties. Whether you are charged in Jacksonville, Duval County, Clay County, or Nassau County, Hussein & Webber can help. Contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer today for a free consultation.
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