Florida Court Overturns Convictions for Assault and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell
A Florida District Court of Appeal overturned two separate cases last week, ruling the State had not proved elements of assault or possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
In the first case, a defendant was charged with burglary with an assault for reaching for his waistband where a pellet gun was hidden after the victim approached him during a burglary. The Court found that the State had not proved that the defendant made an overt act intended to cause the person fear and therefore did not commit an assault. While the defendant might have been threatening to the victim, the State had not shown that the defendant was intentionally threatening the victim.
In the second case, a defendant tossed two containers of a controlled substance after being pulled over by law enforcement. The defendant had a large amount of cash on him and a narcotics expert testified the defendant was carrying the drugs and cash in a way that indicated he intended to sell the drugs. The Court ruled that in drug cases, where the only proof of intent to sell is circumstantial, the evidence will support conviction only if it excludes every reasonable hypothesis that the drugs were possessed for personal use. Additionally, although the quantity or packaging of drugs may indicate an intent to sell, these circumstances do not automatically establish the intent to sell.
If you have any questions please contact the attorneys of Marcus & Manning, P.A. and remember that it is important to choose attorneys that keep up-to-date with the ever-changing law.