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Possession of drugs vs. intent to sell

If you are arrested for possession of drugs, this means that you are alleged to have a controlled substance for your own personal use. You are not being charged with manufacturing, distributing, selling or intending to sell the controlled substance. Controlled substances may include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, Xanax and other prescription medicines. In Florida, spice and bath salts are also considered controlled substances.

To be charged with intent to sell a controlled substance, authorities must have proof that you did intend to sell the substance. This might include having scales and/or other paraphernalia used to sell the substance or being busted during an actual negotiation of a sale. The type of controlled substance and the amount will determine the charges.

When establishing drug possession or intent to sell, the prosecution must do their job. To begin with, they must determine that the material seized is actually a controlled substance; this is usually done in a crime lab. Next, they must determine that you were aware of the substance, knew it was a controlled substance and that it belonged to you. If you had the substance on your personal body or clothing, this is usually proof enough.

Being charged with drug possession or intent to sell doesn't necessarily mean you will be convicted if you have a good attorney and defense. Your attorney may be able to put up a good defense if you can claim that you had no knowledge of the controlled substance or had a medical prescription for the drug. Other defenses might include discrepancies in the way authorities officiated their search and seizure. Did they do everything lawfully? Did they use entrapment? If your rights were violated in any way during the search and seizure, this could help in your defense.

In Florida, the penalties for possession of a controlled substance and/or intent to sell depend on the type of substance and the amount you are charged with. These are important factors in your defense as they could increase or lesson your sentence, fines and other penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Drug Possession Laws," accessed Jan. 01, 2016

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