Drug Possession With Intent to Sell
Many people do not realize that in Florida, possessing drugs with the intent to sell them is just as serious a crime as actually selling them. Drug possession with intent to sell may be charged as a felony offense, even without any evidence that a sale or exchange took place. If the prosecution can prove that you intended to sell drugs in your possession, you may face harsh penalties. At Ellis and Bryant, we understand that a proper defense strategy may make a difference in a criminal drug case. Our Jacksonville drug crime attorneys will strive to protect your rights and help you seek to avoid a conviction for drug possession with intent to sell.Florida Drug Possession With Intent to Sell
The use, distribution, and possession of controlled substances, such as street drugs and pharmaceutical medications, are subject to state and federal laws. In Florida, it is a crime to knowingly be in possession of a controlled substance, unless it was obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, by order of an authorized practitioner, or otherwise permitted by law. If you possess drugs with the intent to sell them, you may be charged with a second or third degree felony offense, or in cases involving less dangerous drugs, a first degree misdemeanor.
A conviction for drug possession with intent to sell requires the prosecution to establish each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the prosecution must prove possession by showing that the defendant intentionally exercised control over the drugs. Possession may be established regardless of the physical location of the controlled substance. For example, drugs in a public storage unit may be within the defendant’s possession if the defendant placed them inside the unit and had the only key. Second, the prosecution must establish that the defendant knew of the presence of the controlled substance and its illicit nature. The jury is permitted to infer that the defendant had knowledge of the drugs from the evidence and circumstances of the case. Third, the prosecution must prove the drug at issue is a controlled substance under Florida law. This is typically confirmed with lab testing.
Finally, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant intended to sell the drugs. Proving this element requires sufficient evidence from which the jury could reasonably conclude that the defendant planned to sell the drugs. In many cases, the evidence will be circumstantial. For instance, the fact-finder may consider the amount of drugs in the defendant’s possession and their street value, the presence of individually sealed packages of drugs, scales, and cash, as well as other items typically used in selling drugs. If the evidence was the product of an unconstitutional search or seizure, or otherwise improperly obtained, you may move the court to exclude it, and a seasoned defense attorney can help.Penalties
A conviction for drug possession with intent to sell may result in harsh penalties. Factors such as the quantity and the type of controlled substance, the location of the offense, the defendant’s criminal record, and other considerations may affect the penalties imposed by the court. For a third or second degree felony conviction, a defendant may face a maximum prison sentence of 5 or 15 years, and fines up to $5,000 or $10,000. In many cases, mounting a well-prepared defense to the charges may help to avoid unnecessarily harsh penalties, or prevent a felony conviction.Contact a Jacksonville Attorney to Fight Charges for Drug Possession With Intent to Sell
If you are facing a criminal charge for drug possession with intent to sell, you can seek advice from a qualified defense lawyer. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville lawyers have significant experience representing defendants in felony and misdemeanor drug cases involving marijuana, prescription drugs, and many other substances. We can assist people located throughout Clay and Duval Counties, including in Orange Park, Middleburg, and Jacksonville Beach. To arrange a free consultation, call (904) 551-4120 or contact us online.