Florida Laws on Drug Trafficking v. Intent to Distribute
Though many people mistakenly assume that drug trafficking and possession of drugs with intent to sell involve the same or similar charges, Florida law draws a clear distinction between the two. Not only is the difference key to what prosecutors need to prove to support a conviction, but it’s also critical when it comes to defense strategies. Generally speaking, the focal points will be on your intent, the amount of controlled substances, and specific factors involved with the case.
Regardless of their differences, both drug trafficking and possession of drugs with intent to sell can lead to jail time and fines – as well as other collateral consequences. Therefore, it’s important to retain a Florida trafficking and drug crimes defense attorney to represent your interests. You might also benefit from a synopsis of these two drug offenses.
Definitions and Penalties for Drug Trafficking: You could be arrested for trafficking if you buy, sell, deliver, or produce large amounts of a controlled substance; the nature of the charges and potential punishment depends on the type and weight of the drug. A prosecutor doesn’t need to prove that you did sell or intend to sell, since possession of the designated amount of the drug is enough to create the presumption that you were conducting acts of trafficking.
Florida’s drug trafficking statute lists the specific amounts of controlled substances that could lead to criminal charges, such as:
- 28 grams of cocaine;
- 14 grams of methamphetamine; and,
- 25 pounds of marijuana.
Drug trafficking is a felony in Florida, so you could face prison time, fines, and other punishments if convicted. Plus, this drug offense is one that triggers mandatory minimums under the state’s sentencing system.
Definitions and Penalties for Possession with Intent to Sell: Florida Statute 893.13 prohibits selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver. However, unlike drug trafficking, a prosecutor must present evidence regarding your final objective – i.e., possession of a large amount alone isn’t enough. There must also be evidence of your intent, such as:
- Your statements and those of witnesses;
- Testimony from an informant, which could be a co-defendant; or,
- Circumstantial evidence, including having a large amount of cash, scales for measuring drugs, plastic baggies, or related materials.
If arrested for possession with intent to sell, the charges may range from a misdemeanor to first degree felony. Your punishment for a conviction depends upon the type of drug, quantity, and surrounding circumstances.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
From the above description, you can see that it’s essential to have experienced legal counsel on your side if you’ve been arrested for drug trafficking or possession of drugs with intent to sell. The lines are blurry with respect to evidence and intent, so you need a skilled lawyer to attack weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. To learn more about your rights and defense options, please contact Fort Lauderdale drug trafficking attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a case evaluation at our office.