Is Possession of a Controlled Substance a Crime in Florida?
In Florida, there is no such thing as a minor drug charge. In many cases, a conviction could lead to jail time, fines, and a host of other life-changing consequences. Fortunately, if you were arrested for possession of a controlled substance, you will still have a chance to defend yourself and fight the charges you’re facing.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the state’s possession laws, common penalties, and how an attorney might be able to help you defend your rights:
What Is the Definition of Possession?
In Florida, it is prohibited for you to be in actual or “constructive” possession of a controlled substance without legal permission. As such, there are some situations in which possessing certain substances could be considered legal. For instance, if you have a valid prescription.
You are considered to be in actual possession of a substance if you are holding or carrying the drug on your person. For example, maybe the substance was in your hand, or you stashed the drugs in your pocket. Constructive possession means that the illegal substance was in close enough proximity that it could be considered to be under your dominion or control. If, for example, you had placed the substance in your backpack, this may be considered as constructive possession.
Controlled substances are divided into five “Schedules”, with each drug assigned a category based on its potential for abuse, and whether or not it has an accepted medical use. Heroin, for instance, has no accepted medical use in the state and has a high potential for abuse, earning the substance a “Schedule I” classification. Anabolic steroids fall under “Schedule III” because, while they have acknowledged medical applications and are not considered addictive, they can cause serious physical harm.
What Are the Penalties for Possession?
The penalties for a possession charge can vary based on both the type of drug in your possession and the volume of said substance. For instance, if you were arrested with less than 20g of illegal marijuana, you may be sentenced to a year behind bars—however, in such situations jailtime is unlikely. If, however, you were caught with 28 grams or more of cocaine, and the prosecution can prove that you were intending to sell, you might be facing a minimum of three years in prison in addition to paying a $50,000 fine.
If you were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, it’s important to know that a conviction isn’t inevitable. Not only may it be possible to fight the charges, but there are also alternatives to going to court. For instance, you may be eligible for the pretrial intervention program which, if you complete certain requirements during your probationary period, might result in the dismissal of your possession charge.
Discuss Your Options with a Criminal Defense Attorney in Stuart, Florida
If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges in the state, it may be in your best interests to speak to a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The legal team at the Law Offices of Todd A. Kawecki are passionate about developing tailored defense strategies for each and every case.
Todd Kawecki can help assess your situation, compile the necessary evidence, and develop an effective defense given the circumstances. To schedule a free case review, dial 772-485-4500 or head over to our contact form HERE.