Since drug-related allegations are taken very seriously in Florida, the consequences if convicted on such charges can be quite severe. Drug sales, possession and drug trafficking are three of the most common drug-related charges. Each type of charge carries a different level of punishment depending on the circumstances surrounding a person's arrest.
The charge of drug sales, or possession with the intent to distribute, is a fairly limited allegation and only applies to those individuals believed to be dealing drugs, versus other charges that apply to anyone in the drug supply chain. This charge can, however, be given to any person who is found with any amount of an illegal substance -- such as marijuana, heroin or cocaine -- or a controlled substance without the proper license to sell, if intent to distribute is suspected. Penalties for this type of charge vary, but are typically determined by the drug found in possession, the amount of the drug distributed and the accused's previous criminal history. Other state specific or federal laws may also be applicable.
While some drug-related offenses qualify as a misdemeanor charge, a drug sales offense will typically garner a felony charge. Offenses held at this level call for hefty fines and a prison sentence if a conviction is secured. The fine amount and length of prison term may vary based on the type of drug and volume of the drug supply found in an individual's possession.
Florida residents who are faced with drug sales charges certainly have a lot on the line. The ability of the accused to utilize a variety of legal defense strategies may prove to be a valuable benefit while fighting the accusations made against them. It will be up to prosecutors to provide a significant degree of proof that the individual accused of this type of crime actually was in possession and intended to distribute drugs. Failing to do so could result in a lesser charge or even a dismissal of charges all together.
Source: FindLaw, "Drug Dealing and Drug Sales Charges", , Aug. 28, 2014