What Is the Difference Between Drug Trafficking and Intent to Distribute?Published: Jan 29, 2018 by Erika Valcarcel
Florida law distinguishes between drug trafficking and the possession of drugs with the intent to sell. Drug trafficking requires no proof of your intent to sell, because the possession of large amounts of drugs is enough to create the presumption that you are engaged in trafficking. For lesser amounts of drugs, the prosecution may charge you with possession with intent to sell. However, you can only be charged with this if there is evidence that you fully intended to sell the drugs.
Although it’s a less serious offense, the penalties for possession with intent to sell are extremely harsh. In some cases, possession with intent can be charged as a first degree felony, just like drug trafficking. Also similar to drug trafficking, a conviction for possession with intent may result in mandatory minimum sentences.
If you or a loved one has been charged with drug trafficking or intent to distribute, a Sarasota drug lawyer can help. Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today at (941) 363-7900 for a free consultation.
Penalties for Drug Distribution and Trafficking
The penalties for drug trafficking that may consist in the purchase, sale, manufacture, delivery, transport, or possession of large amounts of a drug, depend on the quantity and type of drug you were caught with. Below are the penalties for cocaine trafficking compared with the penalties for possessing cocaine with the intent to sell.
According to Florida Statute 893.135(1)(b), the possession of more than 28 grams of cocaine is considered trafficking. As a first degree felony, trafficking involves a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Moreover, there are mandatory minimum cocaine sentences to take into account, such as:
- Between 28 and 200 grams- Minimum three year prison sentence and fines of $50,000
- Between 200 and 400 grams- At least seven years in prison and a $100,000 fine
- Between 400 grams and 150 kilos- Minimum sentence of 15 years and a $250,000 fine
- Over 150 kilograms- Life in prison without parole
A prosecutor does not need evidence that you actually sold or even intended to sell drugs to charge you with drug trafficking. All the prosecutor needs is evidence to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and intentionally possessed a minimum amount of drugs. Some of these minimums are:
- 28 grams for cocaine
- 14 grams for meth
- 25 pounds for cannabis
The evidence needs to show that you willfully possessed the drugs or that you had them under your control, such as when they’re in the trunk of your car or a stash on your property.
Penalties for Possession With Intent to Sell
Florida Statute 893.13 prohibits selling, manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver any controlled substance. Depending on the type of drug, quantity, and the context in which you allegedly sold it, this offense ranges from a minor misdemeanor to a first degree felony, similar to drug trafficking.
When it comes to cocaine, possession with the intent to sell is a second degree felony involving a possible 15 year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if you are caught within 1,000 feet of a school during school hours or a public park, the offense becomes a first degree felony punishable by three to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Florida law provides for several other aggravating situations that may result in mandatory minimums for possession of cocaine with intent to sell.
To charge you with possession with the intent to sell, the prosecutor needs more than just evidence of your possession of a controlled substance. Unlike with drug trafficking, the prosecutor will need evidence of your intent to sell. This might consist in direct evidence, such as your own statements or those of an informant. Alternatively, the prosecution may use circumstantial evidence, such as your possession of large amounts of cash, a scale, and baggies.
A Sarasota Drug Lawyer Can Help You
At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., our number one priority is bringing our clients’ cases to a positive resolution. From minor possession to major trafficking cases, we will aggressively advocate for your rights at every step of the criminal justice process. If you are facing Florida drug charges and want to know more about your possible defenses, call attorney Erika Valcarcel today at (941) 363-7900 for a free and confidential consultation.