All sale crimes are felonies and most are 2nd degree (punishable by up to 15 years in prison) or 3rd degree (punishable by up to 5 years in prison) felonies. Sale of marijuana and sale of most controlled substances (pills) are 3rd degree felonies whereas sale of cocaine is usually a 2nd degree. In Florida, selling any of these drugs within 1000 feet of a school, church, or convenience store enhances the penalty and generally raises it one degree (i.e. from a 2nd to a 1st , which is then punishable by 30 years in prison).
If you are arrested for selling drugs, chances are you are accused of:
- selling it to an undercover police officer; or
- selling it to a confidential informant; and
- are on audio tape and/or video tape.
Also in sale cases, it is unlikely that you were arrested at the time of the sale. In police terms, this is called a ‘buy/bust’ where you are arrested immediately after the sale. Naturally, these are their easiest cases to prove for the State. In most cases, you are not arrested at the time because they are using a video camera which is later shown to the person buying the drug (the undercover officer or the confidential informant) for identification purposes. In many cases, it is standard police procedure to not arrest you at the time of the sale, but arrest you by arrest warrant weeks or sometimes months later.
We have represented many people arrested and charged with selling drugs. In some cases (see case results), we have been able to get the case dropped when it was either the wrong person on the video or the confidential informant was proven unreliable and there was no video. In Florida, if you are found guilty or plead guilty to a sale charge, you usually will be sentenced to prison even if you have no prior record.
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