Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver
The war on drugs has been a long and ineffective battle that has more often led to nonviolent drug offenders facing significant prison sentences than to any progress slowing the drug trade or fighting addiction. The increased attention and focus on drug offenses has led to overzealous enforcement of drug laws and has sometimes resulted in innocent people being caught up in the criminal justice system. If you or a loved one are charged with a drug related offense, it is imperative that you contact a dedicated Clearwater drug crimes lawyer immediately.
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver is one of the drug crimes that officers and prosecutors often charge incorrectly. Law enforcement is encouraged to charge their arrestees with the highest possible offense, which many times leads them to interpret evidence that is not really there and charge people with delivery or sale when the controlled substance was really only for personal use.Elements and Penalties for Possession With Intent
Possession with intent to sell or deliver can be classified as a third, second or first degree felony depending on the type and amount of the illicit substance in question. For example, possession of cannabis (a misdemeanor offense on its own) with intent to sell or deliver is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years prison. Possession of cocaine or heroin with intent to deliver or sell is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Possession of certain substances with intent to deliver or sell, when the amount of the substance exceeds 10 grams, is considered a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
In order to prove possession with intent to deliver or sell, the police and prosecution must establish several elements. First, the state must prove that the accused either sold, manufactured, delivered, or possessed with the intent to sell a substance. The prosecution must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance was a controlled substance who’s sale was prohibited. Finally, they must prove that the accused had knowledge that the substance was present.
Police use certain pieces of evidence to determine how to charge people with possession with intent. Sometimes the accused admits to manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance under police questioning. Because your own statements can be used against you in court, it is important to always invoke the right to a lawyer before answering any questions posed by the police. Any time you find yourself under investigation, it is important that you contact a dedicated Clearwater drug crimes lawyer to aid you. Other times, police will piece together their case based on the evidence they find. If, along with an illegal substance, police find large sums of cash, portable scales, individual plastic baggies, or ledgers keeping track of sales, they may be able to charge the suspect with possession with intent to sell or deliver.
Possession with intent may also be enhanced to a more serious offense with minimum mandatory penalties depending on certain circumstances. If the prosecution can prove that an accused possessed with intent to sell certain controlled substances within 1000 feet of a certain type of business or facility, enhancements and minimum mandatory sentences come into play. For example, someone charged with possession of fentanyl with intent within 1000 feet of a county park, community center, or a school can face a minimum mandatory 3 year prison sentence. Enhancements can also be imposed for possession with intent within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or even a convenience store like 7/11 or Circle K.Retain a Skilled Clearwater Drug Crimes Lawyer Today
Possession with intent is a complex and nuanced criminal offense. There are multiple ways in which sentences for the crime can be enhanced. Nevertheless, the more complex the crime, the more defenses are typically available. The lawyers at Hanlon Law are the experienced Clearwater drug crime lawyers that you need to effectively develop your defense. Call us today at 727.897.5413.