Possession with Intent to Sell

Jacksonville Drug Possession Defense Attorney

Drug possession for personal use and possession that is more likely to lead to selling the drug are treated very different in the state of Florida. There are some very limited circumstances where dispensaries are able to sell marijuana, and of course pharmacies sell prescriptions, however pretty much any other large amount of drug possession is treated very harshly under the law. If you have been accused of possession – especially with intent to sell – of a controlled substance, it is crucial to find a drug lawyer in Jacksonville who is not only prepared, but experienced enough to fight for a positive disposition of your case. The process itself can be extremely complicated, but even the charges themselves and the distinction between them is often difficult to understand.

Drug Possession vs Drug Possession with Intent to Sell

Drug Possession is charged when someone has ownership and/or control of any Schedule I, II, III, IV or V drug as defined by Florida Statutes § 893.03. While possession of a controlled substance itself is enough to be charged with drug possession, there must be some other factor or mix of factors to escalate the charges to Drug Possession with Intent to Sell.

These factors include:

  • Possession especially large quantities
  • Packaging controlled substances in specific ways which indicate intent to sell
  • Baggies, scales, or other equipment used to sell drugs
  • Admitting to intent to sell
  • Also possessing weapons are large quantities of cash

It is crucial to contact a possession with intent to sell attorney if charged, the penalties can be extremely severe.

  • Schedule I or II – Felony in the second degree (15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and fines up to $10,000)
    • 10 grams or more, near a school, community center, ect. – Felony in the first degree (30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and fines up to $10,000)
  • Schedule III or IV – Felony in the third degree (5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and fines up to $5,000)
  • Schedule V – Misdemeanor in the first degree (1 year jail, one year of probation, and fines up to $1,000)

Federal Possession with Intent to Sell

Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell can also be charged under federal law. The penalties under Federal law are codified under 21 U.S.C. § 841. A person charged with a federal charge related to intent to sell faces:

  • With no prior convictions – From 10 years to Life, depending on the circumstances
  • If serious bodily harm or death results as part of the criminal episode – From 20 years to Life
  • With two or more prior convictions for a similar offense – Life imprisonment with no chance of parole
  • Fines
    • When acting alone – up to eight million dollars
    • When acting in concert with others – up to twenty million dollars

Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges

  • Factual Challenge
    • It is possible in most cases to mount some kind of factual challenge, these are the types of defenses often seen on TV or in books, these are what people would consider a “normal defense”
      • Argue identity, that another person acted in the way that is being used to prove intent to sell, or that the possessor of the drugs was someone else entirely
      • Argue that there was no knowledge of what was happening, this can apply to drug mules or someone who simply has the drugs and other equipment left in their vehicle or home
      • Argue that the amount of drugs was improperly calculated
    • No intent to sell
      • Unfortunately, it is very common for prosecutors in Florida to add “intent to sell” to a run-of-the-mill possession charge, this increases the penalties and can scare people a lower plea that actually matches the offense, thinking that is a deal. It is crucial to hire an attorney who will attack the subjective elements that can be used to prove intent to sell
    • Legal Challenge
      • Drug possession charges nearly universally arise from a set of facts that triggered Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment protections. Constitutional protections are difficult to navigate even for most judges and lawyers, let alone police officers. It’s very common that some kind of mistake is made. These can be minor and seen by courts as “harmless,” or they can be enough to throw out an entire case or all the key evidence. A possession with intent attorney can help narrow down these issues and attack the ones that will result in a better disposition or an outright dismissal.

How is Possession with Intent to Sell Different from Trafficking?

There is a lot of overlap in elements between the two charges, but the key difference is the volume involved. Drug trafficking charges are generally aimed at those moving large amounts of drugs above the street level and can often carry more significant penalties. Equipment such as scales or baggies are less important to the prosecutor’s case than proving there were huge amounts of drugs being moved. It is especially important if charged with drug trafficking to contact a qualified defense attorney as many of the charges carry mandatory minimum sentences which can land a person in prison for decades at minimum, based on the type and quantity of controlled substance.

Lee Lockett and legal team at Lockett Law are based out of Duval County, but serve much of North Florida. The team is prepared to defend your rights if you have been accused of possession of a controlled substance. Lee Lockett personally has decades of experience. Lee Lockett began his career learning how the other side functions as a prosecutor before later moving on to defending the rights of citizens as a public defender, before taking his skill set to private practice. Call a Jacksonville drug crime attorney today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation.


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