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Drug Possession With Intent to Sell
It is a criminal offense in Florida, according to Florida Statute 893.13 (1) (a), to be in possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, cannabis or heroin. Prosecutors may attempt to pin another more serious charge on someone accused of possessing a controlled drug, that of ‘possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver.’ Any conviction for possession with intent to sell may lead to additional penalties on top of any penalties for simple possession of a controlled substance.
A conviction for possession of even 10g of cannabis in Florida, as long as it can be proved that it was not for medicinal use, could result in jail time as it is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. Possession of amounts of cannabis greater than 20g, or cocaine or other controlled drugs that are regarded as more serious than cannabis, can lead to a felony conviction. You will need decisive and determined legal help from Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq., to ensure you get effective representation in court.
Prosecutors may not have sufficient evidence to prove possession with intent to sell
It is common for prosecutors to attempt to make a charge for possession more punitive by alleging that the person charged also planned to sell, deliver or manufacture a controlled drug. In fact, it is often hard for prosecutors to be able to achieve this. To prove possession with intent to sell, three criteria must be tested.
It must be proven that:
1. the accused knew that the substance was in their possession;
2. the accused possessed the substance in order to sell, deliver or manufacture it;
3. the substance was a controlled substance.
Prosecutors cannot get a conviction unless all three criteria assessed are proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ It is common for attorneys representing someone accused of this offense to cast sufficient doubt on at least one of the criteria needed to ensure that the charge is dismissed. If knowledge of possession is also not proven beyond reasonable doubt, then the additional primary charge of possession may also be dismissed.
Penalties for the crime of possession with intent to sell
The penalties for proven possession with intent to sell depend on exactly what was possessed. This depends on the Schedule the drug is listed on. For example, possession with intent to sell, deliver or manufacture cannabis is a felony offense in the third degree and can result in a maximum of five years in jail. Cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug. The same offense with cocaine (a Schedule 2 drug) could result in a second degree felony conviction and up to 15 years in jail.
Evidence that prosecutors may look for to prove possession with intent to sell
The allegation that someone didn’t just possess a controlled drug for his or her own personal use, but intended to sell it hinges on finding evidence. Obviously if the person is caught red-handed in the process of obtaining cash for supplying drugs, then this is real evidence, but often evidence is borderline. For example, prosecutors may point to ‘equipment’ found in the possession of the accused of such items as scales, bags, rolling papers, mixing devices, testing kits, or even large amounts of cash. In practice, this ‘evidence’ does not necessarily prove any more than what might be used by the person who is using the drug for personal use.
If you have been arrested for any criminal offense in Florida, you will definitely need legal representation. It is your right to be defended in court. You cannot be convicted unless the prosecution has sufficient evidence that can prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that you committed an offense. You should contact Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, at 305-644-1800.