Being accused of a crime and arrested in Florida will be a source of worry in many ways. Often, people who have been charged have never been in any trouble before and do not know what to expect. If the accusations are for drug possession, it is important to be aware of the different laws that may be applicable, what they say and what the penalties might be.
Drug possession runs the gamut from people who have a small amount of a scheduled substance for their own use to those who are selling moderate amounts of it to alleged traffickers and distributors. The location of where the person possessed the drugs can also make the charges more serious. Penalties will vary, depending on which drug the person possessed, the amount and other factors.
What should I know about Florida drug possession laws?
The law categorizes drugs under schedules. A Schedule I drug has a high potential for abuse and does not have a current medical use in the United States. For example, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, Fentanyl and similar street drugs are Schedule I. There is a long list of substances that fall into Schedule I. Many are used in combination to manufacture other, stronger intoxicating substances. Those in possession of these substances may face felony charges and the possibility of extended jail time and large fines.
Schedule II drugs have a high propensity for abuse, but do have certain uses in medical forums. These include opium, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Schedule III can be abused, but is not considered as serious as Schedule I or II drugs. These have accepted medical use. Anabolic steroids are in Schedule III. Schedule IV and V have low potential for abuse.
Possessing these drugs with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver them while within 1,000 feet of a childcare facility or a school between 6 a.m. and 12 midnight is violating the law. The penalties for drug possession will range, depending on the amount the person had in their possession and which schedule it was under.
If it is a first-degree felony, there can be as much as 30 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A second-degree felony will result in up to 15 years in prison and fines of $10,000. Even lower-level drug penalties for possession can be severe. Not only might it negatively impact a person’s freedom, but it will be on their record and damage their future.
For drug possession cases, formulating a criminal defense is essential
Just because a person is accused of drug possession does not mean they are automatically guilty. They could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time; the substances might not have belonged to them; there could be problems with the police investigation making the evidence inadmissible; or they could have options to consider treatment, a plea agreement or get an outright acquittal.
The key is to remember that there are ways to deal with any criminal charge. Having professional assistance with assessing the tenets of the case, looking at the evidence and determining a path forward is imperative. Regardless of where a person is from, what they do for a living and if they have a history of legal problems or not, having legal guidance is essential to try and forge a criminal defense and reach a positive resolution.