With potentially hefty penalties for a conviction, Florida drug dealing charges are serious. For many people, seeking legal representation is the first step they need to take in defending themselves. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg drug crime attorneys can determine an appropriate defense strategy to help you fight your drug sales charges. We have the skill and resources to handle a wide variety of criminal drug sales cases, including trafficking and possession with intent to sell. If you have been arrested for selling a controlled substance, we can help you protect your rights and assist you in understanding the options available in your case.Overview of Florida Drug Sales Crimes
Drugs known as controlled substances are subject to both Florida and federal laws. Except as authorized under these laws, it is a crime to sell or purchase marijuana, prescription medications, synthetic drugs, and any other controlled substance. The severity of a drug sales charge depends on the type of controlled substance at issue, the quantity of the controlled substance allegedly involved in the offense, and other factors that may enhance the penalties. Under Florida law, the sale or purchase of most drugs, with the exception of Schedule V drugs, will be charged as a felony offense. The penalties for a felony conviction may include incarceration, probation, and/or a large fine, in addition to losing certain civil rights. Listed below are common drug sales crimes in Florida.Sale of Controlled Substance
In Florida, the unauthorized sale of any amount of a controlled substance is a crime. The offense consists of three elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. One is that the defendant sold a substance. This requires evidence that the defendant delivered or transferred the drug to another person in exchange for some type of consideration, such as money or something else of value, or in exchange for the promise of such consideration. Two, the prosecution must prove the identity of the controlled substance, which is typically established with an expert witness and forensic drug testing report. The third element requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant had knowledge of the presence of the substance. Accordingly, if the defendant did not realize the illicit nature of the controlled substance, then the defendant’s lack of knowledge may be an affirmative defense to the charge. An experienced drug crime lawyer can help you develop the most relevant arguments for defending yourself against the charges you are facing.Possession with Intent to Sell
It is also a Florida crime to possess a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. To prove possession with intent to sell, the prosecution must present evidence that shows the defendant planned to sell the drugs. This evidence may include establishing the amount of drugs involved, or things like individually packaged drugs, scales, large amounts of cash, weapons, and/or other items at the scene, as well as witness testimony. A conviction for possession with intent to sell is punishable by the same penalties as sale of a controlled substance.Trafficking in a Controlled Substance
A person may be charged with trafficking via sale if they are accused of selling a significantly large amount of a controlled substance. In these cases, the Florida trafficking statute generally applies once the quantity of drugs allegedly involved exceeds a certain threshold amount. The threshold amount varies depending on the type of controlled substance at issue. Some trafficking crimes are first degree felony offenses in Florida, which carry mandatory minimum penalties for a conviction.St. Petersburg Attorneys for Defense Against Drug Charges
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we can provide aggressive defense representation on behalf of individuals facing drug sales charges in federal or Florida courts. Our defense lawyers work tirelessly to negotiate dismissal or seek a favorable plea deal, but we are also prepared to fight the allegations against you at trial if necessary. In addition to St. Petersburg residents, we can assist people located in Clearwater, Tampa Bay, and many other communities in Pinellas County. To arrange a free consultation regarding a drug case, DUI, or other criminal law issue, call Blake & Dorsten at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online.