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While simple possession is the most common drug offense in Florida, possession with intent to sell is not far behind. Possession with intent to sell a controlled substance is a powerful law that allows police to arrest and charge a person as if they were a dealer, without any proof they actually sold drugs. Law enforcement officers have wide discretion whether to charge person with simple possession or possession with intent to sell, and the decision is entirely subjective. When police have this much power it usually results in unjust charges, which range from a third-degree felony for cannabis to a second-degree felony for other controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin and oxycodone. If you have been charged with this offense do not gamble with your future by showing up to court without a lawyer, and never speak to police without representation. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in charges for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance. He has successfully defended hundreds of clients in drug felonies throughout Florida, and has extensive experience in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Benjamin also represents clients in Martin and St. Lucie County, and all surrounding counties for drug sale and other felony offenses. He can be reached 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305 and has flexible office hours at his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach locations.
The state can prove possession with intent to sell in a few different ways, but the main factor used will be the amount of controlled substance they recover. Any time police make an arrest and find a large quantity of drugs that is more than an amount for personal use they will almost certainly charge the suspect with possession with intent to sell. The problem is that there is no bright line rule for what constitutes an amount that is more than personal use. Police rarely have any evidence to support their decision to charge a suspect with possession with intent to sell beyond the overused phrase “based on my training and experience”. This phrase will appear in their reports and on the stand when testifying to prove that the amount was more than personal, but they rarely have any actual evidence to back it up. Police may think a person had intent to sell drugs, but Benjamin will not allow a police officer’s opinion to be the basis for a conviction. He fights for a dismissal at all stages of the case, and will not back down from a jury trial if the state is unwilling to drop or reduce the charges.
In addition to the amount of drugs, the state will also focus on other factors such as the presence of a scale, the manner the drugs were carried and packaged, and whether the defendant had a large amount of cash on his or her person. If a digital scale was recovered by law enforcement, you can bet the prosecutor will harp on this as proof the defendant intended to package the drugs for sale. A good criminal defense lawyer will be able to tear this argument apart, as drug users routinely use scales to make sure they are not being ripped off. When Florida police officers recover even a modest amount of marijuana, cocaine, pills, heroin etc., they will almost always charge possession with intent if it is packaged in multiple separate baggies and/or there was cash present. The presence of multiple baggies and cash (usually a large quantity of small bills) are two of the main factors police and prosecutors will argue to convince a jury that the defendant intended to sell, but a skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to pick these cases apart. There is no law that prohibits a person from carrying cash, and people frequently pay rent or shop for expensive items using cash. Many defendants have perfectly reasonable explanations for why they were carrying cash, but police officers rarely listen. Benjamin knows how to cross examine police officers to wreck their credibility in front of a jury, and is prepared to do the same in your case. He is a South Florida drug crimes lawyer with extensive experience defending charges for possession with intent to sell, and he is available anytime to explain the best strategies to win your case.