Understanding Drug Possession Charges in Florida 

Florida has multiple drug possession charges, each with varying fines, jail time, and  other penalties. Depending on the type of drug and the amount found in your  possession, you could face charges that range from misdemeanors to federal crimes. If  you or a loved one are facing drug possession charges, seek the counsel of an  experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your legal rights and fight  the charges against you. Learn more about drug possession charges and penalties in  Florida below.  

Drug Possession for Personal Use 

Drug possession is the illegal act of intentionally possessing or holding a controlled  substance. Controlled substances are defined and categorized in Schedules I-V of  Florida Statute 893.03 and are sorted based on their potential for abuse. The drugs  listed in Schedule V have the lowest potential for abuse and are frequently prescribed for  medical purposes. In contrast, Schedule I drugs are the most severe category and are  likely to be abused with little to no medical value. Temporary possession of these  substances is also considered drug possession under the law. 

Drug Possession with Intent to Sell  

Drug possession charges can be upgraded to “intent to sell” by the amount of the drug  found. You could be arrested for drug possession with intent to sell, even if you had no  plans to sell the drugs. At trial, the prosecutor would need to prove an intent to sell for  conviction, such as providing evidence of packaging for individual use, the presence of  drug paraphernalia like scales and bags, records of drug transactions, or large amounts of cash.  

Drug Trafficking  

Trafficking is the sale, purchase, delivery, manufacture, transportation, or possession of  a specific number of drugs that exceed the intent to sell limit. It does not matter if you  intend to transport the drugs across long distances; possessing a certain number of  drugs can lead to a trafficking charge. The specific number considered for trafficking  varies considerably based on the drug type and Schedule. For instance, possessing 28  grams of cocaine, four grams of heroin, or over 300 cannabis plants is considered  trafficking. 

Possession of a Legal Drug Without a Prescription

It is unlawful to possess legal drugs that have not been prescribed to you by a medical  practitioner. If you are caught, you could be charged with a third-degree felony.   

Penalties for Drug Possession 

Penalties for drug possession convictions are based on the schedule level. Penalties  could range from a misdemeanor to life in prison, depending on the type of controlled  substance and the amount found. For example, possessing ten or more grams of a  Schedule I drug can result in a 30-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. On the other  hand, possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor and could result in a  $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Additional penalties may include community  service and driver’s license suspension. 

Enhanced Penalties 

There are enhanced sentences for those arrested for drug possession with other factors,  such as:  

  • Possession of illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park, or other designated drug-free zone. 
  • Drug charges are in conjunction with other charges, such as possessing a firearm.
  • Having a prior criminal record. 

Drug Possession Defense in Osceola County, FL  Alison M. Lopes is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended  clients facing drug possession charges in Osceola County and beyond. If you need legal  assistance for drug possession charges or any other criminal matter, contact Alison M.  Lopes at (407) 442-2724 to schedule a consultation. We will work tirelessly to  achieve the best possible outcome in your case.