Possession with the Intent to Sell in Florida

As leading drug possession attorneys in Florida, we have helped countless clients beat their drug charges through top-tier legal representation. If you’ve been charged with possession with the intent to sell in Florida, time is of the essence — contact our law firm today.

The State of Florida takes drug crimes seriously. Whereas a simple possession charge may not result in severe consequences if you have a good criminal defense attorney and a clean criminal history, a charge of possession with the intent to sell is a different story. 

That’s because possession with the intent to sell — also called possession with the intent to distribute — is about more than an individual’s personal proclivities or drug habits. It affects other individuals, too, contributing to larger community issues and widespread addiction. 

That being said, being accused of a crime isn’t the same thing as committing one. Regardless of the nature of your charge, your criminal history, or the circumstances of you case, you deserve access to a robust, aggressive criminal defense — which is exactly what Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense delivers. 

This article will explain everything you need to know about possession with the intent to sell in Florida, including types of possession, possible penalties, legal defense strategies, and more. 

How Does Florida Define Possession with the Intent to Distribute?

In Florida, possession with the intent to distribute is an extremely serious drug offense. According to Florida Statutes Section 893.13, this crime involves possession of illegal drugs with the purpose of selling, distributing, or delivering them to others. Here are a few key elements to understand:

  • Possession. The defendant must have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance, meaning they have direct physical control over the drug or have the ability to control its disposition or use.
  • Intent to distribute. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to sell, distribute, or deliver the controlled substance, as evidenced by the quantity of drugs, packing materials, paraphernalia, or communications with others.
  • Types of possession. Whereas actual possession means the drugs were found on the physical person or within arm’s reach, constructive possession means the drugs were found in a place over which the defendant had control and knew where they were.

Understanding these key factors is critical to mounting an effective legal defense. Your possession defense attorney can help you understand how these elements affect your specific charges.

What Does a Prosecutor Need to Prove Intent to Sell?

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To secure a conviction, the prosecutor needs to prove more than possession — they need to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to sell, distribute, or deliver the illegal drugs in your possession, which isn’t always easy. Here are some of the types of evidence they may use to prove intent:

  • Quantity of drugs. Being caught with a large quantity of drugs in your possession suggests they are for more than just personal use.
  • Packing materials. When found in conjunction with a large quantity of drugs, small, individually wrapped bags or containers can indicate distribution.
  • Paraphernalia associated with distribution. Prosecutors can also point to the presence of certain types of paraphernalia, such as scales, baggies, and cutting agents, to demonstrate your intent to sell.
  • Large amounts of cash. Possessing large sums of money, especially in small denominations and without apparent reason, can also indicate drug sales.
  • Communication evidence. Prosecutors can point to revealing text messages, phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication to prove intent.
  • Surveillance and observation. If you were being observed by law enforcement before your arrest, the prosecutor can present observations of suspected drug-related activities, such as several short-term visitors to your home within a short period of time.

Although these types of things can seem like compelling evidence, prosecutors can face distinct challenges in proving intent. We will do everything in our power to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and poke holes in their arguments to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

It involves proving both possession and intent to distribute. At Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense, we are committed to scrutinizing the prosecution’s evidence and providing a robust defense to protect your rights. If you are facing these charges, contact us today to start building your defense strategy.

How Does This Differ from Possession for Personal Use?

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The key distinction between possession for sale and possession for personal use under Florida law lies in the intent behind possessing the controlled substance. These charges differ in several key ways, which we will explore below.

Possession for Personal Use

Possession for personal use means having a controlled substance solely for your own consumption. It does not involve an intent to sell, distribute, or deliver an illegal drug or controlled substance to others. Depending on the amount and type of substance in the defendant’s possession, this crime is typically considered a misdemeanor, although it can also be charged as a third-degree felony in some circumstances.

Possession for Sale

Possession for sale means having a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, or deliver it to others, and is a much more serious offense due to the distribution element. Depending on the quantity and type of illegal drugs found in the defendant’s possession, this charge may be considered a third-degree, second-degree, or first degree felony. For exceptionally large quantities, this charge can also be enhanced to drug trafficking.

What Are the Best Defenses for Possession with Intent to Sell?

If you’ve been charged with possession with the intent to sell in Florida, several legal defenses may apply to your case. The best strategy for you is specific to the details of your situation, but there are a few commonly used, effective approaches. Our drug possession defense lawyer may be able to make one of the following arguments on your behalf:

  • You had no intent to sell the controlled substance, despite the large quantity found in your possession, and the drugs were strictly for your own personal use.
  • The drugs in your possession were found during an illegal search and seizure in which law enforcement officers violated your Fourth Amendment rights.
  • There is insufficient evidence to prove possession with the intent to sell beyond a reasonable doubt, and your charges should be dismissed.
  • You are the victim of entrapment and would have never committed a crime if not coerced or persuaded by police officers to do so.
  • You did not knowingly possess a controlled substance and were unaware of the presence of the illegal drugs.
  • Your charges are the result of a mistaken identity, and other individuals have access to the location in which the illegal drugs were found.
  • You possessed the controlled substances out of a medical necessity, as evidenced by medical records and documentation.

Defending against possession with intent to sell charges requires a strategic approach tailored to the specifics of your case, which is exactly what Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense provides. We meticulously craft our defense strategies around compelling evidence and challenge the prosecution’s case at every opportunity to protect your rights.

What Are the Penalties for Possession for Sale?

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The penalties for possession with intent to sell in Florida are severe and vary depending on the type and quantity of the controlled substance involved. If convicted of possession for sale in Florida, you could face the following legal penalties and consequences: 

  • Third-degree felony. Cases involving smaller quantities of controlled substances or less dangerous drugs are more likely to be considered a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in state prison, up to five years on probation, fines up to $5,000, and various additional consequences.
  • Second-degree felony. Larger quantities of controlled substances or more dangerous drugs are typically charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison, up to 15 years of probation, fines up to $10,000, and range of additional consequences.
  • First-degree felony. Possession of very large quantities of controlled substances or particularly dangerous drugs with the intent to sell is likely to be charged as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, up to 30 years of probation, fines up to $10,000, and more.
  • Drug trafficking charges. Extremely large amounts of controlled substances may escalate the offense to drug trafficking, the prison sentence for which varies but typically involves a mandatory minimum sentence, fines that range between $25,000 and $500,000, and more.

Each of these drug offenses is charged as a felony and results in a permanent criminal record, affecting employment, housing, educational opportunities, and more. Convicted felons lose various civil rights, including their rights to vote, serve on a jury, and possess a firearm. Individuals convicted of these crimes may also be ordered to pay restitution and attend court-mandated programs.

Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense: Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Central Florida

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Trust us when we say that you do not want to be convicted of possession with the intent to sell in Florida. Conviction for this type of crime can make it extremely difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to get your life back on track, as they carry immense social stigma. The best way to defend your rights and protect your future is by working with an experienced criminal defense law firm, such as Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense. Contact our law office today to schedule an appointment with a passionate drug possession defense attorney in Orlando.

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