Drug dealing is not a technical term for any crime in Florida, but selling or attempting to sell a controlled substance could land an individual in hot water. State law is quite specific on which actions are prohibited.
There are two main categories of drug offenses that might concern someone accused of dealing in narcotics, marijuana or other similar substances. The first category contains possession offenses. The second, more complicated category deals with the distribution of drugs.
Possession is characterized by knowingly controlling an illegal substance. Some defenses are structured around disproving one of these elements, such as the defendant’s knowledge that the substance was illegal or that the defendant had no control over the presence of the substance, for example. FindLaw describes drug possession penalties in Florida as having three possible levels of severity:
- Possession in the first degree, which could carry a minimum sentence
- Possession in the third degree, punishable by up to five years in prison
- Misdemeanor possession, reserved for small amounts of marijuana
Distribution is another subject entirely. FindLaw clearly delineates trafficking and distribution by the amount of substance involved. The penalty structure is similar to that of drug possession, but the situation could be complicated by many factors. These include a defendant’s alleged attempts to import drugs, prior offenses of the defendant or the type of substance involved.
The FindLaw resource on distribution charges notes several specific defenses for trafficking or distribution charges, including civil rights violations and police entrapment. Which course might be most effective depends heavily on the specifics of the case.