POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE
Tampa Criminal Attorney: Call 813-532-5057
Possession with Intent to Distribute in Florida is a very serious crime with very serious consequences. The punishment associated with the distribution of drugs is typically much harsher than simple drug possession. When deciding whether or not to charge a suspect with this offense, law enforcement officers typically look for circumstances and factors that indicate not only the possession of drugs, but also the sale or distribution of them. Such things include the amount or quantity of the substance found, packaging materials found on the suspect or in his/her dominion or control, scales, large amounts of cash, and guns or other weapons.
Under the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, controlled substances are classified into five schedules ranging from substances with the most potential for abuse with little known medicinal purpose (Schedule I) to substances with the least potential for abuse and commonly used medicinal purposes (Schedule V). The various schedules (Under Florida Statute 893.03) are defined as follows:
- Schedule I: A substance in Schedule I has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards. Examples of substances in Schedule I include Heroine, MDMA, and LSD.
- Schedule II: A substance in Schedule II has a high potential for abuse and has a currently accepted but severely restricted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of substances included in Schedule II include Codeine, Hydrocodone, and Raw Opium.
- Schedule III: A substance in Schedule III has a potential for abuse less than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence or, in the case of anabolic steroids, may lead to physical damage.
- Schedule IV: A substance in Schedule IV has a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule III and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule III. Examples of substances in Schedule IV are benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax.
- Schedule V: A substance, compound, mixture, or preparation of a substance in Schedule V has a low potential for abuse relative to the substances in Schedule IV and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and abuse of such compound, mixture, or preparation may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule IV.
Under Section 893.13(1)(a), Florida Statutes, it is unlawful for a person “to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance.” Florida Statutes Sections 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084 further define the statutory punishments associated with Possession with Intent to Sell. Under Florida law, the penalty can increase depending on the type of substance, the amount of the substance, whether the offender possessed a weapon during the commission of the offense, the location where the substance was alleged to have been sold, whether the offense involved a person under the age of eighteen, and whether the offender has any prior criminal convictions. Accordingly, Possession with Intent to Distribute can be classified as a second degree felony or a third degree felony, depending on the circumstances. Whether the offense is classified as a second degree felony or a third degree felony, depends on (among other things) the type of unlawful substance involved. For example, possession of cannabis with intent to sell manufacture or deliver is typically classified as a third degree felony, while possession of cocaine with intent to sell manufacture or deliver is typically classified as a second degree felony.
Definition and Elements:
To prove the crime of Possession with Intent Distribute, the prosecution must establish the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant possessed a certain substance with the intent to sell the substance;
- The substance was a controlled substance as defined in Section 893.03, Florida Statutes;
- The defendant had knowledge of the substance.
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