Facing Charges for Drug Distribution?
Get a defense lawyer who knows how to fight charges in Polk County
Florida law sets tough penalties for drug charges, and those penalties only get tougher when the prosecution believes you intended to sell or distribute drugs. You could be facing years in prison, plus thousands of dollars in fines and a felony charge permanently on your record. The only way to protect your future is to fight back.
That’s why you need a Lakeland drug distribution defense attorney who knows Florida law, knows the system, and knows the science behind drug charges. Get a free consultation with Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law as soon as possible. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the more dire your situation becomes.
What are drug distribution charges in Florida?
In Florida, there is no charge called “drug dealing” or “drug distribution” per se; rather, charges involving smaller amounts of controlled substances are charged as “possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver.” This is a less serious charge than drug trafficking, which involves larger amounts and carries stiff penalties, but more serious than simple drug possession for personal use.
There are three elements of such a charge that the prosecution must prove:
- The defendant possessed a certain substance with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver it.
- The substance in question was a controlled substance.
- The defendant had knowledge of the substance.
It’s unfortunately common for the prosecution to add “with intent” to a simple possession charge just to put more pressure on the defendant. Some of the grounds prosecutors might use to enhance a sentence from simple possession to possession with intent include:
- The presence of a significant amount of the controlled substance (that is, more than personal use, though not enough for a trafficking charge).
- The presence of large amounts of cash.
- The presence of packaging or paraphernalia (such as scales or testing kits) consistent with drug sales.
- The presence of weapons.
Of course, there are valid reasons why any of these items might be present that have nothing to do with drug sales. Often, the prosecution is hoping the defendant will cave to the pressure of an enhanced charge and give up trying to prove their innocence. When their case comes under scrutiny from an experienced attorney, it may not hold up.
Penalties for distribution or possession with intent to distribute
In Florida, most cases of drug distribution or possession with intent are charged as second-degree felonies. For instance, offenses related to narcotics like heroin, fentanyl, or cocaine fall in this category. The maximum penalty for these charges is 15 years in prison.
Offenses related to marijuana and certain other substances like MDMA are charged as third-degree felonies. The maximum sentence for distribution of these substances is five years in prison.
However, the most serious charges come from distribution or possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance (including marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school, church, or daycare facility. In Florida, this is an extremely serious charge: a first-degree felony with a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Those three years must be served day for day, with no parole or early release.
It goes without saying that even a single drug distribution charge can radically affect your future. That’s why you need an attorney on your side to mount a strong defense.
How an attorney can fight a distribution or possession with intent charge
Again, the evidence the prosecution uses to “prove” intent to sell is often speculative or circumstantial and not direct evidence. Possession of a certain amount of a drug is not proof that you intended to sell it, nor is possession of cash, a weapon, or packaging. Often, the items in question are “dual-use” and may have an entirely legal purpose. An experienced attorney can question the prosecution’s theories and put reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.
Moreover, the evidence itself may be thrown out due to problems with the underlying police search or seizure. A successful Motion to Suppress may get evidence thrown out, and that can force the prosecution to drop the charges if there isn’t enough evidence left to move forward.
To have the best shot at fighting a drug distribution charge, you need an attorney who understands the science behind drug charges and knows how to undermine the non-validated science that may be used by the prosecution. As one of just four ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientists in Florida, I have special training in drug analysis techniques and know how to apply that knowledge to build a stronger defense for my clients.
Talk to an experienced drug distribution defense attorney right away
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to get your charges reduced to simple possession or even dismissed entirely, or fight for a Not Guilty verdict at trial. Fighting back against a drug charge is always tough, but you’ll put yourself in the best position with an experienced lawyer on your side.
The key is to act fast. The clock starts ticking at the moment of your arrest, and the longer you delay, the tougher it will be to build a strong defense. If you’re facing drug distribution charges in Polk, Pasco, or Hillsborough County, call or use the online contact form to discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer today.