One type of juvenile drug charge in Florida is possession with the intent to sell.When your child is charged with intent to sell drugs, this means the officer found the child in possession of a controlled substance that the child intended to sell to someone else. Intent to sell findings can mean more serious penalties than just possession, which is why you need a Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyer on your side.
When Possession Charges Increase with Intent to Sell
Drug charges in Florida can vary greatly depending on the reports of the arresting officer. If your child has any amount of illegal drugs on him or her, then your child can be charged with drug possession. However, in many cases, the officer will also try to charge with intent to sell as well.
The penalty for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana is only a 1st degree misdemeanor, but when your child is accused with intent to sell, those charges could increase to a 3rd degree felony. The issue here is that the officer has only to claim that your child did, in fact, intend to sell the marijuana; no actual sale has to take place.
As with drug possession charges, the drug type, amount and location of your child at the time of the arrest all factor in to the penalties your child may face in court.
Fighting Intent to Sell Drug Charges in Florida
A juvenile defense lawyer is necessary in drug possession cases that also involve a charge of intent to sell. Without proper legal defense, your child may be wrongfully accused of intending to sell when that may not have been the case.
It’s difficult for the prosecution to prove that your child intended to sell drugs. The court typically looks at factors such as:
- the quantity of drugs in your child’s possession
- how the drugs were packaged or contained
- how much cash your child had on hand, and
- where the arrest took place.
The quantity and packaging can be evidence that your child intended to sell the drugs -- for instance, when they were contained in easily concealed, portioned quantities. The cash on hand may be relevant as to whether your child conducted any drug transactions before the officer’s intervention.
The area where the arrest took place matters for two reasons. First, it is a 1st degree felony to possess or sell drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or church. Second, many officers are aware of the common places where drug transactions take place. If your child was hanging out in such a place, he or she will be suspected of intending to sell, based on the fact that the area is known for drug sales.
Protecting Your Child’s Rights in Drug Charges in Florida
By contacting a juvenile lawyer as soon as possible, you can help protect your child’s rights. Most juveniles do not know that they have the right to refuse to answer any questions until they have a lawyer present. Unguarded talks with officers and prosecutors can lead to self incrimination or increases in charges. It's always best to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.