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Possession with the Intent to Sell

Both state and federal law prohibit the possession of controlled substances. However, federal law also specifically penalizes possessing illegal drugs with the intent to sell. Establishing intent is key to a prosecutor’s case, making it especially important for those who have been accused of possession with the intent to sell to speak with an experienced federal crime attorney who can evaluate the evidence and help them formulate a defense.

Establishing intent

Federal law prohibits both the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs, as well as possession with the intent to distribute or manufacture a controlled substance. When trying someone for this offense, prosecutors are required to prove that the defendant intended to distribute the substance in question. Even if there is no evidence showing that a defendant was in the process of making a sale, courts can presume intent when certain facts exist, including when:

  • Large quantities of the drug were found in the defendant’s possession;
  • The defendant was found in possession of materials and tools that are commonly used to manufacture controlled substances, including certain chemicals;
  • Drug paraphernalia was found in the defendant’s possession;
  • Packaging materials or large amounts of money were found at the scene; and
  • There is evidence of communications regarding distribution between the defendant and a customer.

Minimum Sentencing Guidelines

Those who are convicted of this offense face steep penalties, although the severity of their sentence will largely depend on the amount and type of drugs that were in their possession at the time of the arrest. For instance, those who are found with the following substances in their possession face a minimum of ten years in prison and a $10,000,000 fine:

  • One or more kilogram of heroin;
  • Five or more kilograms of cocaine;
  • 100 grams or more of PCP;
  • Ten grams or more of LSD;
  • 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana or 1,000 or more marijuana plants; or
  • 50 or more grams of methamphetamine.

However, if death or serious bodily injuries result from the use of the substance found in a defendant’s possession, his or her sentence could be increased to a minimum of 20 years to life.

On the other hand, those who are found in possession of 100 grams or more of heroin, at least 500 grams of cocaine, ten grams of PCP, one gram of LSD, 100 kilograms of marijuana or 100 plants, or five grams of methamphetamine face a minimum sentence of five years and a $5,000,000 fine.

Being charged with any type of drug crime should be taken seriously, however, federal drug offenses tend to be more aggressively investigated and prosecuted. Furthermore, federal crimes also tend to have harsher criminal penalties as judges are required to abide by a series of sentencing guidelines when determining a defendant’s punishment.

Call Our Federal Crime Legal Team Today

To learn more about federal drug charges and possible defenses, please contact experienced federal crime lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys today. A member of our South Florida legal team is standing by to help you schedule a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience.


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