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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Possession With Intent To Sell/Distribute Drugs In Florida

Possession With Intent To Sell/Distribute Drugs In Florida


Possession of drugs is a fairly straightforward offense in Florida, prosecuted strictly because of the state’s history as a cartel playground. However, Florida law distinguishes simple possession from possession with intent to sell or distribute drugs, and for many, it is easy to become confused, particularly if they have never been in trouble with the law before. If you have been charged with either of these offenses, it is crucial to understand the nature of what you are facing. The right attorney can help.

No Actual Intent Required

Florida has some of the strictest laws in the United States when it comes to drugs. Even a first offense might conceivably land a person behind bars for up to 1 year, and if the offense is a felony, the mandatory minimum prison sentence is 3 years in most cases. One of the main features of this system is that with some drug offenses, a prosecutor does not actually have to establish any intent on the part of the defendant.

For example, a charge of possession with intent to sell or distribute only requires establishing that the defendant had a certain amount of drugs in their control – the presence of items like scales or bags can help, but is not strictly required. A large amount of one drug (or a mixture containing the drug) will be taken as prima facie evidence that the defendant intended to distribute it, whether that is actually the case or not. Because of this, possession with intent to sell can sometimes be used in order to charge a defendant with a more serious offense, even if no actual intent to sell existed.

Serious Potential Penalties

There are three specific criteria that a prosecutor must establish in order to prove a case of possession with intent to sell in Florida. They are: (1) the defendant had a certain amount of a controlled substance in their possession – a large enough amount to infer intent to sell or distribute, among other factors; (2) the substance was unlawful for the defendant to possess or distribute; and (3) the defendant must have understood that the substance was unlawful to possess. The absence of proof for any of these is sufficient to create reasonable doubt.

The penalties for possession with intent to sell are serious, and depend on the substance involved, but will almost always be charged as a second or third-degree felony. If convicted, a felony of this caliber carries anywhere from 5 to 15 years behind bars, plus fines in the thousands of dollars. It is a good idea to enlist an attorney who can work with you to protect your rights – for example, it may be possible to plead to a charge of simple possession, which tends to be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

Call A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney

Possession of drugs is seen as an offense against society in Florida, and possession with intent to sell or distribute drugs will be treated even more harshly. A West Palm Beach drug offenses attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure that you get your day in court. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.



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