Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell
Hundreds of prescription drugs (including Xanax, Lortab and OxyContin) and dozens of so-called "street" drugs (including marijuana, cocaine and heroin) are considered controlled substances. The Florida Statutes, Chapter 893.13(2)(a), details how the government controls these substances, not only by criminalizing their possession, sale, and trafficking, but also the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver them.
Except for small amounts of marijuana, or medicine prescribed by a doctor, the mere possession of a controlled substance in Florida is a felony. Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell is an elevated charge from simple possession, with more severe penalties if convicted.
These cases often hinge on not only the determination of possession, but also the determination of "intent." In their zeal to make an arrest, law enforcement officers sometimes exaggerate or misinterpret the concept of intent or the evidence at the scene. Prosecutors then proceed with serious charges that may have life-changing consequences if a person is convicted of possession with intent to sell.
Attorney for Possession of Drugs with Intent to Sell in Miami, Florida
Hubbs Law defends clients throughout the greater Miami area who were arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, narcotics, or drugs with intent to sell.
E.J. Hubbs is Board Certified in the practice of criminal trial law by the Florida Bar. A board certified attorney has been evaluated by the Florida Bar for experience and competency within a specific area of law and determined to be both professional and ethical in the practice of law.
E.J. Hubbs understands Florida's laws related to drug charges and controlled substances. He puts his extensive knowledge to use by aggressively defending clients who are accused of these types of crimes.
Hubbs Law represents clients in Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Hialeah, Doral, Kendall and Homestead, as well as other cities and unincorporated communities from all over Miami-Dade County. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorney today at (305) 665-9040
to discuss your case.
Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell in Miami
Under Title XLVI, Chapter 893.13(2)(a) of the Florida Statutes, "a person may not sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance."
A prosecutor may pursue either the simple possession charge (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 893.13(6)) or the elevated possession with intent to sell charge, but the prosecutor must prove intent to sell beyond any reasonable doubt at trial. Faced with this dilemma, prosecutors sometimes drop the intent to sell charge when an aggressive attorney challenges the intent charge.
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Factors that May Indicate Intent to Sell a Controlled Substance
If a law enforcement officer finds that a person is in illegal possession of a controlled substance, the officer then must determine if a person possessed the drugs or narcotics with the intent to sell all or part of them.
Many factors may lead to the elevated charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, including any of the following:
- Verbal or written statements by the person in possession that he or she had the intent to sell the drugs
- Amount or quantity of drugs possessed
- Location where drugs were possessed
- Way in which the drugs are packaged (such as small amounts individually wrapped)
- Presence of drug paraphernalia used by dealers, such as scales or plastic bags
- Presence of large amounts of cash in close proximity to the drugs
- Presence of ledgers recording drug transactions or other records of drug-related activities
- Presence of a gun, a firearm or other weapon
A prosecutor will build an intent-to-sell case based on these factors, but if no factors are present, proving intent may be difficult.
A person under suspicion of intent to sell should exercise his or her right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and allow a criminal defense attorney to answer police questions. A skilled attorney may know of ways to explain many of these factors or the lawyer may be able to file a motion seeking to dismiss the charge of intent to sell.
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Search and Seizure in Intent to Sell Cases
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches or seizures. Law enforcement must have "probable cause" to initiate a search.
Besides questioning the "intent" aspect of a possession with intent to sell case, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to examine the way the search was conducted or how the drugs were discovered. If the search was not valid or any legal mistakes occurred during the search, evidence obtained in the search may be excluded by the court. Without any evidence of possession, the charge of possession with intent to sell will be dismissed.
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Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell
Florida's penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell depend on the type and amount of a controlled substance seized. For the intent to sell marijuana, a third-degree felony is usually charged. For the intent to sell cocaine, a second-degree felony is usually charged. The intent to sell prescription drugs could be either degree of these felonies, depending on the type and amount.
Small amounts of the most dangerous and addictive controlled substances — sometimes a gram or less — may result in a lengthy prison sentence if a person intended to sell some or all of the drugs.
The penalties for felonies related to Possession with Intent to Sell include:
- Third-Degree Felony — A prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000
- Second-Degree Felony — A prison sentence of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000
(See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 775.082 and 775.083.)
Additional penalties may include probation, community service, drug evaluation, counseling and treatment, random drug testing and a lengthy driver's license suspension. Convicted felons also lose the right to vote or own a gun unless granted clemency after release from prison.
A convicted felon may also find that educational, employment and housing opportunities become less abundant. In addition, if you are not a United States citizen, a conviction for an offense related to a controlled substance violation will result in deportation from the U.S., unless certain exceptions apply.
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Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 893, § 893.13 — Read the current Florida laws about the prohibited acts and penalties related to drug offenses, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell at § 893.13(2)(a).
Find an Attorney for Possession with Intent to Sell in Miami, FL
If you were charged in Miami or Miami-Dade County with Possession with the Intent to Sell, Manufacture, or Deliver drugs, narcotics or a controlled substance, you are facing a felony charge and should discuss your case with a qualified criminal defense attorney.
As a board certified attorney in criminal trial law, E.J. Hubbs possesses the knowledge and experience to provide you with effective representation in your case.
At Hubbs Law, your initial consultation is free and offers a chance for our attorney to explain your charges and the potential penalties that may be imposed if you are convicted. He can discuss possible defense strategies and help you understand the entire process.
Our criminal defense lawyer strives to avoid a conviction in every case. He will do his best to investigate your case, including the circumstances of a search for a controlled substance, and how the alleged intent to sell was determined. In many cases, he is able to negotiate a reduction in charges and sometimes he is able to convince the court to dismiss the charges for a lack of evidence.
Call Hubbs Law today at (305) 665-9040
to schedule a day and time to your charge for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell.
This article was last updated on Friday, January 29, 2016.