In Bradenton, and in the State of Florida in general, any crime involving drugs is taken very seriously, and those accused of drug crimes will face the most serious penalties. If you have been accused of the unlawful sale of a substance in place of a controlled substance, you are going to need legal representation.
The laws that govern this crime can be found under . According to this statute, depending on the classification of the illegal substance involved, you could be facing felony charges. A criminal conviction like this will stay with you for many years to come and must be avoided at all costs. With the right criminal defense lawyer in your corner, you may be able to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
At The Law Place, our team of attorneys has over seventy-five years of combined experience between them. We have helped many clients successfully fight drug charges, and we can do the same for you. Let us protect your rights and fight for the outcome that you deserve.
To find out more, contact us today for a free consultation. Our telephone number is (941) 444-4444, and our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What Does Florida Law Say About the Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance in Bradenton?
If you have been accused of the sale of a substance in place of a controlled substance in Bradenton, FL., you will be charged according to Florida Statute 817.563.
According to this statute, if you offer to sell a controlled substance but provide a non-controlled legal substance, you are still breaking the law. Some examples of this are, claiming that you are selling someone marijuana but giving them a bag of herbs, or you are telling them you are selling cocaine but giving them some sugar instead. According to the statute, although the substance you give to your customer is a legal substance, the charges you will face will be associated with the drug you claimed to be selling.
This crime is often confused with the crime of counterfeiting a controlled substance as laid out in Florida Statute 831.31, where a drug is “cut” with another drug or another legal substance and then sold.
To be successfully charged with this crime, the prosecutor must be able to prove the following:
- You sold a non-controlled substance in place of a controlled substance.
- You received payment, money or otherwise, in return for the substance that you sold.
- You did not have the legal authority to sell any controlled substance, as listed under Florida Statute 893.03.
The charges associated with this drug crime should not be faced alone. Luckily, a qualified attorney from The Law Place can help. Call us today for a free consultation.
What Does Florida Law Say About Controlled Substances?
In the State of Florida, controlled substances are divided into five “schedules.” They are organized according to the probability of them being abused.
- Schedule I drugs – Includes drugs such as heroin. They are the drugs that have no recognized medical use and have huge potential for abuse.
- Schedule II drugs – Includes drugs such as morphine. These drugs do have a recognized medical use but have a very high potential for abuse. Therefore, these drugs are strictly regulated and come with severe restrictions. Abuse of these drugs can result in serious physical and psychological dependence.
- Schedule III drugs – Includes drugs such as anabolic steroids. These drugs have a recognized medical use but less potential for abuse when compared to Schedule I or II drugs. Abuse of these drugs usually only leads to moderate physical dependency but can result in high psychological dependency.
- Schedule IV drugs – Includes drugs such as diazepam. These drugs also have a recognized medical use and are less likely to be abused compared to Schedule III drugs. Abuse of these drugs can lead to some psychological and physical dependence, but this is usually minimal in comparison to Schedule III drugs.
- Schedule V drugs – Includes drugs that contain minimal amounts of narcotics. These drugs are considered to have the lowest potential for abuse. They have a recognized medical use and come with limited risk of psychological and physical dependency.
What Are the Penalties for Selling a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance in Bradenton, FL?
The penalties that are associated with this crime are based on the type of drug you claimed to be selling. If you are successfully convicted of this crime, your punishment will be based on the classification of the substance you offered. For example:
- You will face third-degree felony charges if the substance that you offered is listed under Florida Schedule I, II, III, or IV. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years of probation, and up to 5 years in prison.
- You will face second-degree misdemeanor charges if the substance that you offered is a Florida Schedule V drug. Penalties include a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days in jail, home detention for 6 months, and a fine of up to $500.
- Penalties can be enhanced if you are a habitual offender if you were selling to a minor, at a school or a religious organization, or at public or assisted housing, and you could be charged with a first-degree felony and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Criminal drug convictions can have long-term consequences. Not only will you be facing the prospect of several years in prison, but with a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record, you will also be subject to restrictions on your future employment opportunities as well as your ability to vote and own a firearm.
To avoid these penalties, you will need to fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed. This is only possible with the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Call us now to schedule your free consultation.
Could I Be Charged for Possession With Intent to Sell?
Even if there is no evidence of a sale, the prosecution could insist on charging you with possession with intent to sell. To prove this charge, they can use evidence such as:
- Large sums of cash in or around the vehicle or premises where the substance in question was found could suggest drug possession with intent to sell.
- The presence of packaging, such as baggies commonly used for drug sales.
- Evidence of other drug paraphernalia, for example, rolling papers, scales, and mixing devices.
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell is a very serious charge. According to Florida Statute 893.13. it is classified as a second-degree felony, a third-degree felony, or a first-degree misdemeanor. The exact classification will depend on the type of substance involved (as outlined above).
If you have been arrested for drug possession with intent to sell or deliver, a qualified criminal defense attorney can help.
What Defenses Are Available to Me?
A conviction of selling a substance in place of a controlled substance will remain on your record, and the consequences will stay with you for the long-term. Therefore, it is important that you consult with an experienced lawyer who will build a defense strategy for you based on your individual case. Every situation is different, but some examples of common defenses used in these cases include:
- The argument that you did not offer to sell a controlled substance.
- The argument that no money was exchanged.
- The argument that you were not involved in the transaction in any way and are innocent of all charges.
- That there is no evidence of a sale or an intent to sell a controlled substance.
- You did not have constructive possession. This is a common defense in possession cases. It is the argument that the controlled substances were not under your control.
In Bradenton, police officers must follow strict legal protocols if they stop and search when they suspect that someone intends to sell or distribute a drug. An experienced lawyer will look closely at your case and question the legality of your stop. This alone could be enough to have your charges thrown out. For example:
- The police officer should have a valid reason to pull you over or stop you.
- The police officer should have a valid search warrant to search your home or car.
- The police officer/s who made the arrest should have followed the correct protocol.
For more information about how The Law Place can help you, call us now for a free consultation.
Contact The Law Place in Florida Today!
If you or a loved one have been accused of selling a substance in place of a controlled substance in Bradenton, FL., you should seek the help of a law firm that has experience in defending similar drug crimes.
At The Law Place, our team of criminal defense attorneys works together so you will have the support of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys in the state. We are dedicated to all our clients and will work tirelessly to secure you a positive outcome. By having your charges reduced or dismissed, you can save your job, your money, your reputation, and even your freedom.
Contact us now at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.