What is Possession with Intent to Sell Drugs in Florida?
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, manufacture, deliver, or purchase in Florida is either a third-degree felony or a second-degree felony, depending upon the controlled substance that the defendant allegedly intended to sell.
For instance, if the substance was marijuana, the charge is a third-degree felony. However, if the charge is cocaine or methamphetamine, it is a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence for a third-degree felony is five years in prison. The maximum sentence for a second-degree felony is fifteen years in prison.
If charged with Possession with Intent to Sell drugs there is a significant risk that you will go to prison. Therefore, it is extremely important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can fight the case and look for legal problems or issues that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as regular possession (without the intent to sell).
Evidence that the state will try to use to prove an intent to sell:
· A large amount of cash in small denominations
· Individual wrapped bags containing a controlled substance
· The presence of a weapon
· Statements or admissions from the defendant or witnesses that indicate an intent to sell
· Observations that the defendant was talking to several people or there were hand-to-hand transactions
· The presence of paraphernalia, such as a scale to weigh drugs
The presence of individually packaged drugs, standing alone, is often not enough to convict
Consider the two Florida cases below. In both of these cases, there was a defendant charged with Possession with Intent because the defendant was found in possession of many pieces of cocaine. The appellate courts ultimately found that the state did not have enough evidence to prove the cases.
Valentin v. State
In the Florida case of Valentin v. State, an officer patrolling a park saw a man drop a baggie into some bushes. The baggie contained seventeen smaller bags of cocaine. The officer arrested the man and charged him with intent to sell within one thousand feet of a park.
At trial, the arresting officer testified that he did not witness the man talking to anyone at the park and there was no money found on the man. The officer also said that in his opinion the seventeen individually packaged bags of cocaine were indicative of intent to sell, however it was possible the seventeen bags of cocaine could also be for personal use.
The court held that in this case the individually packaged narcotics did not automatically establish intent to sell and the state failed to prove possession with intent within one thousand feet of a park. Valentin v. State, 974 So. 2d 629, 630 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008).
Harris v. State
In the Florida case of Harris v. State, a defendant was found in possession of nearly 50 crack cocaine rocks in a park and he was arrested and charged with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park.
The rocks were not individually packaged, the officer did not observe the defendant talking to anyone, the defendant was not carrying any money, and there was no evidence that he was trying to sell to anyone.
The court found that the state failed to prove that the man was guilty of intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park. Harris v. State, 72 So. 3d 804 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011).
Our attorneys have significant experience representing people charged with Possession with Intent to Sell. Please call us for a free consultation.
Also, please visit our drug possession page to learn how the attorneys of Soler & Simon fight drug possession cases and to learn about several defenses that are available to people charged with the possession of drugs.