Last week, the Okaloosa Sheriff’s office arrested four people in relation to the distribution of crack cocaine. According to a report by NWFDailynews.com, one man was allegedly selling the crack cocaine from a home on Pelham Road. The police report alleged that customers would buy the crack in the home and then the man allowed customers to use the crack in a trailer that was also on the property.
One man was charged with possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone, public nuisance, and paraphernalia charges. The other three were arrested on drug paraphernalia charges.
Possession With the Intent to Distribute – The Inference
In Florida, if a defendant is caught with a substantial amount of drugs, that person may be charged with “possession with the intent to distribute” rather than with simple possession depending on the surrounding circumstances. This may seem counterintuitive because, without any affirmative evidence suggesting that the defendant was engaging in the sale of the drugs (such as selling to an undercover agent), it would seem that it would be difficult to prove he intended to distribute the drugs.
However, Florida law allows for a jury to infer an intent to distribute based on the surrounding circumstances. Consider the following factors that may help a jury determine if the defendant intended to distribute the drugs, rather than keep them for personal use:
- The quantity of the drugs.
- Whether the drugs were divided into smaller quantities or if there were any packaging materials found on the defendant or nearby.
- Whether the defendant was found with a large amount of cash.
- Whether the defendant was armed, or if there were guns near the drugs.
This is only a partial list of the factors that a jury might consider when determining if a defendant “intended” to distribute the drugs he is found to possess.
For example, if a defendant is caught with a half ounce of marijuana in the passenger compartment of his car, he may only be charged with simple possession. However, if that same defendant is caught with a half ounce of marijuana and the police also find a scale, small plastic baggies, several thousand dollars in cash, and a gun, the defendant may then face possession with the intent to distribute based on the juries ability to infer the intent.
Have You Been Charged with a Drug Offense in Florida?
If you have been recently arrested or charged with a drug offense in Jacksonville or a surrounding area, you need to contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney immediately. As the above information illustrates, the criminal justice system has many intricacies that an unrepresented defendant may not be aware of until it is too late.
The Forbess Law Firm is a preeminent Jacksonville criminal defense firm that has the dedication and experience you need to hold the prosecution to their burden to prove every element of the offense. The sooner you contact the Forbess Law Firm, the sooner an dedicated criminal defense attorney can get to work on your case. Click here to contact the Forbess Law Firm, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
Hollywood Police Officer Charged with DWI, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, November 12, 2013.
Intoxilyzer 8000 Evidence Called into Question, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, November 7, 2013.