Controlled substances are drugs regulated by the government because they pose a danger to society. Some controlled substances include prescription medication and narcotics. A person caught illegally selling or distributing controlled substances in Fort Myers, Florida could face several penalties.
Overview of drug distribution law
Florida defines drug distribution as possessing or transporting illicit substances with the intent to sell. Like most states, it bases drug charges on the type of substance according to Schedules I to Iv. Drugs under Schedule I have the highest abuse risk, such as heroin and cocaine, and Schedule IV has the lowest abuse risk.
First-time penalties for distributing at least 28 grams or more of cocaine include a minimum three-year jail term and a $50,000 fine. First-time penalties for distributing between 4 grams and fourteen grams of cocaine include up to a $50,000 fine and 15 years in prison. These penalties may increase if the defendant sold drugs near a school or church or with a past conviction.
Proving drug distribution
To bring drug charges against a defendant, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant must have knowingly and willingly sold or distributed the substance illegally.
The distribution element should be present, and the defendant doesn’t physically have to sell the drug. The timing is also an important factor because it can’t count as a distribution charge if no sale has happened. However, the charge of possession with intent to sell could still apply.
The prosecution also needs to prove the drug is a controlled substance as defined by Schedules I to IV. This means they will likely need to get the drug tested in a chemical lab.
Many people charged with drug crimes don’t know they can fight the charges. An attorney may review their case to come up with defenses or help them get a plea deal.