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.
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.
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.