Quantity of Drugs May Not Be Enough To Prove Intent To Sell in Florida

There are a few different kinds of drug crimes in Florida. Simple possession is typically the least serious drug crime, and trafficking is the most serious. In between the two, possession with intent to sell illegal drugs is still a very serious felony crime. The crime is often associated with the suspect being within a certain distance of a public park or school. For the most part, prosecutors and judges look for more serious sentences when they believe a defendant was selling, or intending to sell, an illegal drug rather than just using it.

What evidence is required to prove possession with intent to sell an illegal drug in Florida? Sometimes, the police will try to use the quantity of the drug found on the suspect as the primary, or only, evidence that the defendant intended to sell the drug. This may be allowed under Florida law if the amount of the drugs was so significant, no reasonable person would believe it was for personal use. For instance, if the police find a person with a couple of bricks of crack cocaine, that would probably be sufficient for a possession with intent to sell crack cocaine charge. However, when the quantity does not obviously indicate the drugs are for sale rather than personal use, the state must present other evidence that the drugs were for sale.

In a recent case south of Jacksonville, Florida, the police responded to a park where people were allegedly selling crack cocaine. Ultimately, they arrested the defendant who was found carrying a bag with about 50 crack rocks inside. The defendant was arrested for possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a public park.

The criminal defense lawyer argued that the state did not have sufficient evidence that the crack cocaine was for sale and the possession with intent to sell charge should be dropped. The state relied on just two facts to support the intent to sell charge- the quantity of the crack rocks and the fact that the defendant did not have any drug paraphernalia to use the crack cocaine on him. However, this was insufficient evidence to prove possession with intent to sell crack cocaine. Because there was a possibility the drugs could have been for personal use, the state needed to present more evidence of intent to sell. For instance, if the police testified that they saw the defendant engage in apparent drug transactions or arrested him with a large amount of cash along with the crack cocaine, that might be sufficient to prove intent to sell. The quantity of the crack cocaine alone in this case was not sufficient, and the possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park charge was dismissed.

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