Possession of Conveyance for Drug Trafficking
Section 893.1351(2), Florida Statutes, prohibits knowingly possessing a “conveyance with the knowledge that the . . . conveyance will be used for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance.”
Florida law is well settled that in order to sustain a conviction for the crime of being in possession of a conveyance for drug trafficking, the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must present sufficient evidence of a nexus between the use of the vehicle and the crime. See Hunt v. State, 256 So. 3d 243, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2271 (Fla. 2d DCA Oct. 5, 2018).
In these cases, “the focus should be on the use of the vehicle in the sale.” Hunt, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D 2271 (citing Delgado-George, 125 So. 3d at 1033).
As explained by the Second District Court of Appeals in Morris v. State, 264 So. 3d 1036 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019):
“….the presence of a controlled substance in a conveyance must be shown to be more than happenstance before the conveyance can be considered being used for trafficking in the controlled substance.”
The Morris court went on to explain:
In Delgado-George, the defendant was pulled over during a traffic stop and admitted to the officer that he was on his way to a local bar to sell marijuana. 125 So. 3d at 1033.
This court held that a judgment of acquittal should have been granted because there was no evidence that the vehicle was a necessary component of the intended drug sale or that there was anything “unique about th[e] vehicle that would indicate its intended use was to traffic, sell, or manufacture controlled substances.” Id. at 1034.
This court concluded that the State failed to show that a crime was committed under section 893.1351(2) because the evidence was insufficient to prove a nexus between the defendant’s intent to sell and the use of the vehicle. Id.
In the Morris case, the court determined that:
“…the only evidence about the vehicle was that Mr. Morris drove the vehicle to a house. His wife waited in the vehicle while he went inside. A few minutes later, Mr. Morris placed the package in the vehicle and left. There was no evidence that the vehicle itself was a necessary component of trafficking in a controlled substance. Nor was there anything about the vehicle, or his wife’s presence in it, that indicated it was intended for such use. Hence, the evidence was insufficient to prove the offense of possession of a conveyance to be used for trafficking.” Id.
In the Morris case, the court reversed the conviction even though the issue was unpreserved because the error was fundamental. As the Florida Supreme Court has held, fundamental error is such that “reach[es] down into the validity of the trial itself to the extent that a verdict of guilty could not have been obtained without the assistance of the alleged error.” F.B. v. State, 852 So. 2d 226, 229 (Fla. 2003) (quoting Brown v. State, 124 So. 2d 481, 484 (Fla. 1960)).
Attorney for Drug Trafficking Conveyance Crimes in Tampa, FL
If you were charged with a felony under Section 893.1351(2), Florida Statutes, for knowingly possessing a conveyance with the knowledge that the conveyance would be used for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.
Our attorneys fight serious drug cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including in the Circuit Court’s located in Tampa in Hillsborough County, in Brooksville in Hernando County, in New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, in Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, in Bradenton in Manatee County and in Bartow in Polk County.
Contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for felony charges of trafficking in narcotics in Florida.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.