Florida Statute 893.13 states that it is a felony to be in possession of a controlled substance that you have not been prescribed. Possession, manufacturing, and trafficking of a controlled substance is a serious offense, and there are severe penalties set in place by the State of Florida for anyone who is convicted of a drug crime.
Penalties for being in possession of a controlled substance also come with repercussions that will affect your personal and professional life, such as making it difficult for you to find employment, rent or buy a home, obtain a professional license, or go to college and obtain a government student loan. In order to save yourself from the severity of these consequences, you will need to contact a defense attorney from The Law Place as soon as possible.
The Law Place has over seventy-five years of combined experience in tackling drug crimes and helping clients in Clearwater and all over the State of Florida to beat their charges. We have a dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys who have the necessary knowledge to handle your case and guide you through the legal system with the kind of professionalism that you will not be able to find anywhere else.
Although a charge of being in possession of a controlled substance is not as serious as a charge of manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance, it can still lead to serious punishment. It is also important to understand the differences between possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, as both charges come with vastly different consequences. That is why you will need to hire the services of a defense attorney from The Law Place to investigate your case, gather facts and information, and fight for your legal rights in Clearwater.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a skilled criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place today. Our phone lines are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us now at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation, and we will fight your charges together in Clearwater.
Possession vs. Possession With Intent to Sell
The charges for being in possession of a controlled substance with the intention to sell or distribute carries harsher punishment than simple possession.
Both crimes are identical in nature, and the only real difference is that the prosecutor must prove that you had the intention to sell or distribute the drugs. In most cases, intending to distribute a controlled substance is assumed when you were in possession of a large amount of drugs that are deemed to be too much for personal use alone.
However, if there were other signs of the intention to sell, such as materials for packaging, large amounts of money, communication between dealer and customer, then the prosecutor will have the necessary evidence to build a stronger case for a charge of being in possession of a controlled substance and having the intent to sell.
Actual or Constructive Possession
Ownership of controlled substances is not considered relevant to possession crimes by the State of Florida. In other words, even if the controlled substances are not in your ownership, you can still be held liable for actual or constructive possession of a substance in Clearwater.
Actual possession – A case of actual possession of controlled substances occurs when the substance is physically on the person in question. For example, the drug was kept in the person’s jacket pocket.
Constructive possession – A case of constructive possession of a controlled substance means that an individual was not in physical contact with the controlled substance, but they had knowledge and awareness of the location, and they were capable of accessing the controlled substances, for example, if the drugs were stored in the back of the car or under the seat.
Elements of a Drug Possession Charge
In order to be convicted of a drug possession charge, the court will examine three different factors of the crime, which includes:
- The illegal nature of the controlled substance in question.
- You had knowledge and awareness of the drug in question.
- The drug in question was under your control.
It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to provide evidence that the substance you possessed is, in fact, a controlled substance as defined by Florida law. Most of the time, determining the illegal nature of the drug will require scientific analysis.
The prosecutor must also prove that you were aware of or should have known about the illegal nature of the drug. Finally, they must prove that you were in control of the location of the substance.
Types of Penalties for Drug Crimes in Clearwater, FL.
The kind of charges that an individual will face ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances of their case. The penalties for drug possession will be measured by the quantity and the nature of the controlled substance in question.
- First-degree misdemeanor – An example of being charged with a first-degree misdemeanor is the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana. The penalties include facing up to one year in jail and paying a fine of up to $1,000.
- Third-degree felony – An example of being charged with a third-degree felony includes being in possession of heroin and meth. The penalties include facing up to five years in prison and paying a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second-degree felony – An example of being charged with a second-degree felony includes possessing chemicals that are used to manufacture drugs such as meth or ecstasy. The penalties include spending up to fifteen years in prison and paying a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-degree felony – An example of a first-degree felony is the possession of more than 10 grams of heroin. The penalties include spending up to thirty years in prison and paying a fine of up to $10,000.
There are other enhanced penalties for those who are classed as habitual offenders in the State of Florida, such as:
- You could face a lifetime in prison if you have two or more prior felony convictions in the State of Florida or anywhere else.
- A third-time conviction for a third-degree felony charge can possibly result in spending up to ten years in prison.
- You could face up to one year in jail, enrolment in a treatment plan, or home detention for up to one year, if you have received a fifth or subsequent misdemeanor conviction.
Defending Your Charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance
A charge of being in possession of a controlled substance will require a strong legal defense, and you must get in contact with a reputable law firm as soon as possible. The good news is that you can hire a skilled lawyer from The Law Place to get to work on your case.
The sooner that you call us, the faster we can begin to investigate and negotiate your case with the prosecution to try and agree on a more lenient solution for your case. A lawyer will begin to build a defense on your behalf and explore the different factors of the case, such as:
- If there was a valid reason for law enforcement to make a traffic stop.
- If there was a valid search warrant to search your car or your home.
- If there was a valid prescription for the controlled substance that was in your possession.
- If your Constitutional Rights were violated.
- If law enforcement followed proper protocol.
A diligent lawyer from The Law Place will speak to any eyewitnesses and will take the appropriate measures in an effort to have your drug possession charges dismissed by the court, or at the very least get them reduced. A criminal defense attorney will work hard to protect your future and your legal rights under Florida law. Contact The Law Place today for a free consultation.
Contact The Law Place
Have you been charged with being in possession of a controlled substance in Clearwater? Do you fear for your future, and you don’t know what to do next? Then get in touch with a skilled lawyer from The Law Place today.
The Law Place has over seventy-five years of collective experience fighting cases, and we understand the law in Florida better than any other law firm. We can guide you through the legal system with skill and efficiency.
If you have been charged with being in possession of a controlled substance, then it is important for you to know and understand your legal rights under Florida law. The Law Place has an in-depth understanding of the law on drug crimes in the State of Florida, and we will work hard to reduce the charges and decrease the severity of the consequences that you are facing for being in possession of a controlled substance in Clearwater.
If you call our law firm today, then a skilled lawyer will discuss the details of your case, answer all of your questions, and offer you advice on the smartest move to make in your current situation. We understand what you are going through, and we want to be the ones to fight for your rights in the State of Florida. Our vast amount of knowledge and experience allows us to provide a defense strategy that exploits the prosecutor’s claims.
Don’t hesitate to contact The Law Place today. Our phone lines are open 24/7. Contact us now at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.