Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver
The war on drugs that has been raged over the past several decades has resulted in harsher and harsher sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Unfortunately, that same war has done next to nothing to reduce levels of addiction or slow the flow of addictive drugs into the country. The war on drugs has so significantly incentivized police to go after drug offenders that even innocent bystanders can end up involved and charged with crimes. Often, those with drug problems who would otherwise face simple possession charges end up facing trumped up charges due to overzealous policing. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you should contact a skilled St. Petersburg drug crimes lawyer to discuss your options.
One of the trumped up charges that you might end up facing is possession with intent to sell or deliver. Because of the increased incentives for law enforcement to charge arestees with the highest offense possible, people who are often in possession for personal use can end up charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver.Elements of Possession With Intent to Sell
Florida’s statutes lay out the elements the prosecution must prove in order to secure a conviction for possession with intent. First, they must establish the underlying offense of possession. Possession can be either actual possession, where the substances are found directly in your possession such as in your pocket or hidden somewhere on your body; or constructive possession. Constructive possession is more complex. Where the police do not have direct evidence of possession, they can prove constructive possession by showing that you had control over the area any contraband was found and that you had or should have had knowledge of its presence.
Once the State has established possession, they must present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you had an intent to distribute that illicit substance to someone else. It does not matter if you were dropping it off to a friend for free or selling drugs to turn a profit, the charge is the same. Police have several tactics in order to secure evidence of intent. Sometimes investigators will utilize a confidential informant to make a “controlled buy.” A controlled buy is a purchase of illegal substances that is recorded or observed by the police. Other times, officers will attempt to coerce you to confess to intent to deliver or sell by making false statements or threatening you with increased criminal charges. You should never make statements to police officers before consulting with an experienced St. Petersburg drug crimes lawyer.
Sometimes police try to prove intent by showing the surrounding evidence. For example, a police officer might uncover a small scale, large amounts of cash, and multiple individually packaged amounts of cannabis. Such evidence is highly suggestive of marijuana sales and can serve as circumstantial evidence of intent. However, this approach has recently led to many people being over charged. Though cannabis is still illegal in the state of Florida, many other states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. As companies have jumped on the marijuana bandwagon, more and more professionally packaged cannabis consumables have ended up here in Florida. These professionally and individually packaged items appear to police to be evidence of intent to sell even when the reality is that individual users purchase thes items out of state in bulk.
Possession with intent can be a serious offense. Possession of intent to sell cannabis is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years. Possession of intent involving more serious drugs like cocaine or heroin is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years. Other enhancements can be added to this charge to make the potential punishments even worse. If the amount of illegal substance found is over a certain amount, or if you are arrested within a certain distance from a school, park or church, you might be facing enhanced charges and even minimum mandatory sentences. Because of the complications and nuances surrounding possession with intent crimes, it is imperative that you retain a dedicated St. Petersburg drug crimes lawyer as soon as you can.Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law spend their days fighting for you in and out of the courtroom. They have years of experience defending those with serious drug offenses and can develop the most effective defense for your case. Call us today at (727) 897-5413.