In North Port and throughout Florida, any crime involving a controlled substance is taken very seriously, and those accused of drug crimes face serious penalties. If you have been accused of the unlawful sale of a substance in place of a controlled substance, then you are sure to benefit from legal representation.
For a breakdown of the laws covering this crime, see Florida Statute 817.563. In accordance with this statute, your charges will be dependent on the classification of the controlled substance involved. If you were pretending to sell a Schedule One drug, then you could face felony charges, which should be avoided at all costs.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in Florida law. We will do everything possible to have your charges dismissed or reduced. Once persecuted, it will be too late to seek representation, so you should do everything possible to avoid a criminal charge that will stay on your record and affect the rest of your life.
Don’t let one mistake rule your life. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out what we can do for you. Call us now on (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.
What Does Florida Law Say About the Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance?
In line with Florida Statute 817.563, if you offer to sell a controlled substance, you are breaking the law, regardless of if the substance is not, in fact, a controlled substance. For example, if you claim to sell someone cannabis but instead sell them a bag of Tyme, or you sell someone a bag of sugar as a bag of cocaine, then you will still face charges that are representative of the drug in which you were claiming to sell.
These types of crimes should not be confused with “counterfeiting a controlled substance,” outlined in Florida Statute 831.31. Counterfeiting a controlled substance involves cutting a drug with another substance. I.e., someone may cut heroin with baking soda before selling it to make it more cost-effective.
In order to be charged with the sale of a substance in place of a controlled substance, the prosecutor will look to prove that:
- You gave someone a non-controlled substance in place of a controlled substance.
- You received payment (money or otherwise) in exchange for the substance.
- You did not have any legal authority to sell a controlled substance, as per Florida Statute 893.03.
What Does Florida Law Say About Controlled Substances?
If you have committed a drug crime in Florida, then the first thing you should be aware of is what schedule the drug that is involved in your case falls into. There are five schedules that are listed in Florida Statute 893.03. Substances are roughly organized for their probability of being abused. However, there is often controversy over where different drugs belong.
- Schedule I drugs – Include drugs such as heroin. They have no recognized medical use and a high potential for abuse.
- Schedule II drugs – Include drugs such as morphine and opium. These drugs have recognized medical uses, but at the same time, they have a very high potential for abuse. Therefore, they are highly regulated despite their medical applications. Abuse of these substances can result in serious physical and psychological dependence.
- Schedule III drugs – Include drugs such as anabolic steroids. These drugs also have recognized medical applications but also less potential for abuse when compared to Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. Abuse of these drugs is associated with moderate physical dependency but can still cause high psychological dependency.
- Schedule IV drugs – Include drugs such as diazepam. These drugs also have recognized medical applications and are supposedly less likely to be abused compared to Schedule III drugs. However, abuse of these drugs can still lead to some psychological and physical dependence.
- Schedule V drugs – Include drugs that contain minimal narcotics. They have a recognized medical use and are considered to have the lowest potential for abuse. The risk of psychological and physical dependency is thought to be low.
What Are the Penalties for Selling a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance in North Port, FL?
The penalties that you will face for selling a substance in place of a controlled substance will depend on the schedule that the drug you claimed to sell falls into. For example:
- You could be charged with a third-degree felony if the substance you offered is listed under Florida Schedule I, II, III, or IV. The penalties for a felony of the third degree include a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years of probation, and up to 5 years in prison.
- You could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor if the substance that you offered is a Schedule V drug. The penalties for a misdemeanor in the second degree include a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60 days, home detention for 6 months, and a fine of up to $500.
- There are also circumstances where penalties will be enhanced, such as if you were selling to a minor, or in a place that is religious, for education, or assisted housing, or if you have a previous criminal record involving drugs. If any of these factors apply, then you could face a first-degree felony, which carries the potential for a 30-year prison sentence.
Beyond the initial punishment, criminal convictions have long-term consequences. A life-long criminal record will make it difficult for you to find work, housing, and it may affect your right to own a firearm or to vote. To avoid these penalties, you need representation from a law firm such as The Law Place.
Could I Be Charged With Possession With Intent to Sell?
If there is no evidence of a sale, then the prosecution may try to charge you with ‘possession with intent to sell,’ in accordance with Florida Statute 893.13. Evidence for this could include large amounts of cash in your possession or drug paraphernalia, such as baggies and scales.
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell is a second-degree felony, a third-degree felony, or a first-degree misdemeanor, depending on the substance.
A defense lawyer will work to collect evidence and develop an aggressive defense strategy in an attempt to prove that you did not, in fact, have any plans to sell a controlled substance.
What Defenses Are Available to Me?
If convicted of selling a substance in place of a controlled substance in Florida, you will have a criminal record that will seriously affect the rest of your life. You should therefore speak with a criminal defense lawyer that can build a defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case. Every case is different, but an experienced lawyer who has an understanding of the intricacies of Florida law will be able to guide your case and secure the best possible outcome no matter what your circumstances.
Common defenses for this type of drug crime include:
- No money was exchanged.
- You did not offer to sell a controlled substance.
- There is no evidence of a sale or an intent to sell a controlled substance.
- You were not involved in the transaction in any way.
- You did not have constructive possession, i.e., you were not in control of the controlled substance or did not know it was there.
- The police officer who handled your case did not follow the strict legal protocols when making a stop and search, and therefore, their evidence is invalid.
Contact The Law Place in Florida Today!
If you or a loved one are facing drug charges in Florida, then there is no time to waste. It is imperative that you contact a criminal defense lawyer today.
At The Law Place, our defense attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience, and most of them have an AVVO rating of 10.0, the highest possible rating. We work as a team to develop the best possible defense strategy while at the same time assigning an attorney to your case who can offer support and guidance. By using this strategy, you receive a team of lawyers for the price of just one. We are completely upfront about all costs so that you are not left with any surprises and offer payment plans so that quality defense can be available to everyone.
If you are facing drug charges, then the punishments could be severe. You should do everything possible to have your charges dismissed or reduced, and the best way to do this is to enlist the help of a skilled layer, such as those found at The Law Place. But don’t take out word for it, we have numerous positive reviews from previous clients who have been happy with the service we provide.
At The Law Place, the attorney-client relationship is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we keep our phone lines open 24/7. That way, you can seek advice when you need it most. So contact us today and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. At the very least, you will walk away with more knowledge than before so that you can better tackle your case. Or, if you agree to representation, then we will get right to work developing the best defense strategy possible.
We leave no stone unturned and work tirelessly for our clients. We do not believe that your life should be shattered as a result of a drug crime. So call us now on (941) 444-4444.