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Matassini Law Firm > Blog > Criminal Defense > How Do Police Determine Your Intent to Distribute?

How Do Police Determine Your Intent to Distribute?

You’ve been pulled over. The police have searched your vehicle and found a quantity of narcotics in the trunk. In addition, the cops find baggies and a scale. At the very least, you’re facing charges of possession of narcotics and you may have opened yourself up to charges of possession with intent to distribute narcotics. There is a fine line between one and the other and it could mean years added to a potential prison sentence if the government can prove intent to distribute.

There are four basic drug-related charges in Florida:

  • Possession
  • Possession with intent to distribute
  • Actual distribution
  • Trafficking in narcotics

Possession of narcotics and the penalties you may face is relatively easy to figure out. Any quantity of cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or methamphetamine is, at the very least, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Possession with intent to distribute, however, is far more subjective under Florida law. The corresponding penalties skyrocket from 15 years in prison to LIFE. The first guideline is how much narcotics you possess. The next guideline considers other evidence of an intent to distribute – such as baggies, scales, large sums of money, admissions, etc. The Government has the specific burden to prove intent to distribute as opposed to simple possession. The Matassini Law Firm has been successful in getting the prosecution to reduce possession with intent to distribute charges to simple possession in dozens of cases.

Drug charges, even misdemeanor charges, are serious and you need to be sure to have an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. Each scrap of evidence against you needs to be scrutinized, studied and weighed and, where appropriate, challenged.

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