Florida Statute, Section 817.563
If you are charged with Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance, you are being charged with a second-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony offense (depending on what category or schedule the drug falls under) under Florida Statute, Section 817.563, and are facing serious penalties. Under this statute, it is unlawful to offer to sell a controlled substance, then to sell a noncontrolled, legal substance in place of the illegal substance. In other words, if you sell a baggie full of oregano plants to a person, but tell them it is marijuana, you would have violated this statute. Or, if you sell sugar rocks to a person, but tell them it is crack cocaine, you have violated the statute.
This offense is not the same as counterfeiting a controlled substance, because the substance counterfeited under Florida Statute, Section 831.31 is actually a controlled substance that may have been “cut” with something else. Under Section 817.563, the substance you are selling is totally benign, and is not actually an illegal, controlled substance, even though you are selling it as such. In order to convict you of violating Florida Statute, Section 817.563, the prosecutor must definitively show you:
- Did not have the legal authority necessary to agree, consent, or offer to sell a controlled substance listed under Florida Statute, Section 893.03;
- You actually sold another substance (non-controlled) in place of the controlled substance; and
- You received money or something else of value in return for the substance you sold as a controlled substance.
Penalties Associated with a Conviction for Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance
The penalties you will face for violating Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance, will depend on what type of controlled substance you agreed to sell. If the drug you offered is listed under Florida Schedule I, II, III, or IV, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of this offense, you could be sentenced for up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation, and a maximum fine of $5,000. If the drug you offered for sale is listed as a Schedule V drug, you will be faced with a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted of the offense, you will face a sentence of up to 60 days in jail, and a maximum fine of $500.
Defenses to the Crime of Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance
The exact defense your attorney will use on your behalf will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges. However, your attorney may use one of the following defenses:
- You did not offer to sell a controlled substance;
- No money exchanged hands;
- You were unaware the “controlled substance” was not an illegal drug; or
- You are actually innocent, i.e. you are not the person who sold the substance.
Getting the criminal defense you need from The Law Place
If you are charged with Sale of a Substance in Place of a Controlled Substance, you must contact a criminal lawyer from The Law Place at your earliest opportunity. Our criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in helping others just like you, who are facing serious consequences and unwanted changes to their future. For experienced, knowledgeable legal representation in the state of Florida, call 941-444-4444 today for help.