Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance
Talk to Our Miami Drug Crime Attorneys about Your Charges
The sale, purchase, delivery, or distribution of a controlled substance—such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or other "street" drugs or certain prescription drugs—is not only illegal in Florida but, under Section 893.13 of the Florida Statutes, it is also an elevated charge from either simple possession or possession with the intent to sell.
In fact, the type and amount of drugs or narcotics often determines whether charges of drug possession, drug sales or delivery, or the most serious—drug trafficking—are filed. The mere presence of a substantial quantity of a controlled substance or a large amount of cash or the presence of individually-packaged units or distribution paraphernalia may be enough to trigger a charge of sale or delivery of a controlled substance, even if no transaction occurs.
Sale or delivery of a controlled substance is often a second-degree felony in Florida, and the penalties can be severe. A conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, and a long list of other consequences, including probation, drug testing and treatment, and the loss of civil rights, such as the right to vote or own a gun. 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.
For a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Miami drug crimes attorney, contact Hubbs Law Firm online or by phone at (305) 376-7178 today.
Trust Our Firm with Your Case
Miami has long been a hub for drug dealers and the government has responded aggressively. A person arrested for sale or delivery of a controlled substance in Miami or Miami-Dade County needs an attorney with experience and knowledge about drug crimes to mount an aggressive defense against the criminal charges. Hubbs Law Firm has the necessary experience and knowledge.
Our founding attorney, E.J. Hubbs, is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. In earning this status, he was evaluated by the Florida Bar for competency and experience within the area of criminal trial law, as well as for his performance, professionalism and ethics in practice.
Preparing a solid defense is one of the best ways to counter an allegation of illegal drug sales. Our firm represents clients throughout Miami-Dade County, including the cities of Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Miami Springs, South Miami, Tamiami, Kendall, Doral and Homestead, as well as unincorporated areas of the county and students who attend college anywhere in Miami-Dade County.
If you were arrested for sale or delivery of drugs, narcotics, or a controlled substance, contact Hubbs Law Firm today to schedule a confidential meeting to discuss your case. Your first consultation is free, and our dedicated attorney will be able to explain the charges and penalties you face, as well as explore any possible defenses. We can fight for your rights and your freedom.
Types of Drugs that Are Considered “Controlled Substances”
Under Florida Statutes Title XLVI, Chapter 893, § 893.13(1)(a), a person may not sell or deliver a controlled substance. People accused of the sale or delivery of drugs in Miami and throughout Florida face severe criminal penalties if convicted.
Controlled substances are regulated by both the state and federal governments and classified under five schedules, or lists. Marijuana and heroin are listed as Schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse, according to the law, with no medical value. Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous and addictive, with some accepted medical value.
The charges for sale or delivery of a controlled substance could involve any of hundreds of illegal drugs, including:
- Cannabis (marijuana)
- MDMA (molly, ecstasy)
- Synthetic marijuana ("spice" or "K2")
- LSD ("acid")
- Amphetamines (including Adderall)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Bath salts
- Other prescription drugs
(See Florida Statutes, § 893.03 for schedules of controlled substances.)
Definitions Related to Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance
According to the Florida Supreme Court's standard jury instructions for criminal cases, “sell” means "to transfer or deliver something to another person in exchange for money or something of value or a promise of money or something of value."
“Deliver” or “delivery” means "the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship."
Elements to Prove for Conviction of Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance
To prove the crime of sale or delivery of a controlled substance, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant sold or delivered a certain substance; and
- The substance was a specific controlled substance.
If possession is charged, the state must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the substance.
Penalties for Conviction of Sale or Delivery of a Drugs in Florida
The penalties in Florida for sale or delivery of a controlled substance depend on the type of drug and the amount seized, although the crime is most often charged as a second-degree felony.
The penalties for felonies related to the sale or delivery of a controlled substance vary:
- 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
- First-Degree Felony: A prison sentence of up to 30 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000
(See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 775.082 and 775.083)
Some of the fines are enhanced after a drug sales conviction, so you should consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn about the exact potential penalties for a specific drug sale charge.
A few examples include:
- With a handful of exceptions (notably marijuana), the sale or delivery of more than 10 grams of any Schedule I controlled substance is a first-degree felony
- The sale or delivery of certain non-hallucinogenic Schedule I drugs or most Schedule II controlled substances is a second-degree felony
- The sale or delivery of Schedule I hallucinogens, a handful of Schedule II drugs (including amphetamines), and all Schedule III and Schedule IV drugs is a third-degree felony
- The sale or delivery of all Schedule V drugs is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 (See Florida Statutes, §§ 893.13, 775.082 and 775.083)
Additional penalties may include the loss of a driver's license, as well as limitations on educational, employment, and housing opportunities.
Florida law also provides for enhanced penalties for the sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park, retirement home, or public housing, or for the use of a minor in a sale or sale to a minor by an adult, among other aggravating factors, such as a prior drug conviction or the possession or use of a firearm while engaged in a drug sale.
Law enforcement agencies often work with confidential informants to set up undercover stings, or “controlled buys,” of drugs. During these types of law enforcement operations, a confidential informant will be instructed to attempt to buy or sell drugs to either a known or unknown person. Police generally record the transaction through audio or video surveillance. The buyer or seller is then arrested after the transaction is completed.
Confidential informants have special status in criminal cases. The State Attorney’s Office can sometimes protect the identity of these witnesses due to the danger of disclosure and the risk of jeopardizing future law enforcement investigations.
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to address issues related to confidential informants. Many times the identity of a confidential informant can be revealed with a simple motion. In addition, a skilled criminal defense attorney can evaluate the credibility of confidential informants through the discovery process and through depositions. Many confidential informants lack credibility due to bad prior records, an incentive to receive a reduction in pending charges, and/or payment for their cooperation with police.
Possible Defenses for Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Charge
The type and amount of narcotics often determines whether possession, sale, or trafficking charges are filed against a person suspected of dealing drugs. A skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with drug cases may be able to dispute any of several aspects of a drug sale case through motions or the introduction of evidence.
Among the defenses that may be available in this type of case are:
- Challenge "Constructive" Possession: When "actual" possession cannot be proved, the prosecution may attempt to prove "constructive" possession if narcotics are found in a place where more than one person has access. The state must prove that a defendant had knowledge of the presence of the drugs and had "dominion and control" over the drugs.
- Challenge Legality of the Search and Seizure: Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and other applicable laws, law enforcement officers must have probable cause and follow specific procedures when conducting searches and seizing property. A lack of probable cause or any illegal searches or other missteps by police in the process of gathering evidence may lead the court to exclude the evidence, which could result in a reduction or dismissal of charges.
- "Lack of Knowledge" Defense: A defendant who did not know that a substance in his or her possession was an illegal controlled substance may testify that he or she had no knowledge of the presence of the substance.
- "Personal Use" Defense: Although it is an admission to a lesser charge of possession of a controlled substance, a personal use defense requires the state to prove evidence of a sale, such as a large quantity of drugs or money, individually-bundled units, transaction ledgers, or distribution equipment.
- “Entrapment”: Police or a confidential informant illegally induced a person to commit a crime when the person induced was not otherwise predisposed to engage in such conduct.
Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, any or several of these defenses or other defenses may be a legitimate way to earn a reduction or dismissal of charges.
Anyone suspected of the sale or delivery of narcotics, drugs, or controlled substances should exercise his or her right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A criminal defense attorney is usually better equipped to deal with the police. A skilled attorney will be able to assess the situation and determine factors that may mitigate the charges.
Find an Attorney for a Charge of Sale or Delivery of Drugs in Miami
If you were arrested on drug charges anywhere in Miami or Miami-Dade County and charged with the sale or delivery of drugs, narcotics, or a controlled substance, you are likely facing a serious felony charge that could lead to a lengthy stretch in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Your freedom is in jeopardy, so you should meet with our qualified Miami drug crime attorneys at Hubbs Law Firm today.
At Hubbs Law Firm, we always offer a free initial consultation. Our attorneys will explain your charges and the potential penalties that may be imposed if you are convicted. They can discuss possible defense strategies and help you understand how the process works.
Our lawyers strive to avoid a conviction in every case. We know how to scrutinize your arrest and the evidence. We may be able to find mistakes made during the arrest or search. In many cases, we are able to negotiate a reduction in charges or earn a complete exoneration.
Call Hubbs Law today at (305) 376-7178 to schedule a day and time to discuss your charge for sale or delivery of a controlled substance.
- Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 893 – Read the current Florida laws about the prohibited acts and penalties related to drug offenses, including the schedule of controlled substances at § 893.03 and the sale or delivery of a controlled substance at § 893.13.