Florida is an American state with particularly harsh laws concerning illegal drugs. This is due, in part, to its location as an ideal state for drug trafficking operations and other drug crimes. The laws surrounding the possession and purchase of controlled substances in the State of Florida are also exceedingly complex. Drug charges can take the form of anything from a misdemeanor to a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree felony charge. These felony drug charges can land you with extortionate fines and decades in prison.
The way the law works for drug charges depends on the amount and schedule of the substance you are caught with. Possession or purchase of 20 grams of heroin will be punished differently to possession or purchase of 20 grams of marijuana. The boundaries of whether purchase/possession of a controlled substance can be considered drug trafficking also change per substance. It is also possible to face drug charges for purchasing a large amount of prescription drugs. All of this means that if you were to purchase drugs, you may very well face charges in court related to the sale or the intent to sell that substance.
If you are facing drug charges of any level, be it for possession, purchasing, or trafficking a controlled substance, The Law Place can provide a criminal defense attorney to fight your corner. We have a team of criminal defense attorneys with over 75 years of combined experience in defending those accused of a drug-related crime. We can help you either get the charge leveled against you dismissed or your penalties reduced.
Schedule a free consultation with The Law Place today. One call is all that is needed to begin the process of building your defense. Our call lines are open around the clock and fully protected by the attorney-client relationship. Call today on (941) 444-4444!
What Does the Florida Statute for Illegal Drugs Say?
The way Florida law for illegal drugs is laid out in Florida Statute 893.13. This details where the boundaries are specifically drawn between personal use cases and drug trafficking cases with each substance.
Example: The Possession Boundaries of Cocaine in Florida Law
We will use cocaine possession as an example here to illustrate the way Florida law works.
If you are caught with less than 28 grams of cocaine, the charges will be that of a third-degree felony. This is the boundary for the personal use of cocaine. Once you exceed this amount, the charges are upgraded to drug trafficking charges.
Trafficking cocaine is considered a first-degree felony and, alongside a huge fine, can land you with a long period of time spent behind bars. The number of years in prison will range between 3 years, 7 years, 15 years, or 30 years, depending on how much was in your possession.
How to Find Out Exactly What Penalties to Expect
As you can see from the above section, the law differs wildly from substance to substance. It is also dependent on the amount of a substance in your possession.
Florida law is incredibly confusing and complex in this way. It can be hard to figure out what level of criminal charge you are facing and what the punishment for it might be.
The best way to get ahead on your case is to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with The Law Place in Clearwater. A criminal defense attorney will be able to talk you through exactly what the maximum punishment for your controlled substance case is and what the criminal defense process they can offer you would look like.
Don’t waste time anxious, in the dark about what the possibilities are for your controlled substance case. Call our Clearwater office for help today.
What Fines to Expect From a Florida Drugs Case?
As the length of incarceration varies largely from substance to substance, you would expect the amount of your fine to do the same.
Luckily, the maximum amount your fine can total is fixed to what degree of felony or misdemeanor you are charged with. Florida Statute 775.083 states these boundaries.
The following are the fine levels for each charge:
- First-degree felony or second-degree felony – A fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felony – A fine of up to $5,000.
- First-degree misdemeanor – A fine of up to $1,000.
The Other Types of Drug Offense in Florida
There are a number of other examples of drug crime that an individual could find themselves charged with in Clearwater, FL.
- Possession of controlled substances
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. Includes any equipment/instrument designed for the storage, manufacture, delivery, producing, concealment, sale, transportation, cultivation, or planting of illegal drugs.
- Sale of a controlled substance or possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell
- Manufacture of a controlled substance
- Trafficking controlled substances
Each of these criminal charges carries steep penalties. Even possession of drug paraphernalia, the least severe of these charges, is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment.
If you are facing any illegal drugs-related case, you should ensure you secure the help of a well-seasoned criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The maximum period of time will be needed to minimize the penalties against you.
How Do Mandatory Minimum Sentences Work in Florida?
Unfortunately, Florida is one of the states to implement mandatory minimum sentences in their court system.
This means that the judge has no discretion when it comes to the length of time spent in jail that the court can issue a person. Each level of illegal drug possession has a mandatory minimum jail sentence, which must be carried out, despite the prevalence of cases that display clear mitigating circumstances for the person charged.
This means that the only way an attorney may help to get your consequences reduced is to get the actual level of charges against you either reduced or dropped entirely. A good criminal lawyer could dodge the mandatory minimum by getting your charges downgraded to a lower-level offense with a lower mandatory minimum sentence.
How Do Drug Schedules Work in Clearwater, Florida?
Illegal drugs are split into five different categories, known as schedules. The federal government puts drugs into these schedules based on their perception of how dangerous the drugs are for a person in terms of abuse, harm, and addiction potential. Even some prescription drugs are sorted into these schedules.
The schedule that drugs are placed into by the federal government determines the severity of the punishment for possession, purchase, delivery, sale, intent to sell, manufacture, or trafficking of the drugs.
Schedule I drugs are the most harmful and severely punished. Drugs marked as Schedule V by the federal government are the least harmful and least severely punished.
Examples of the Federal Drug Schedules
The following is a list of the schedules of various drugs as designated by the federal government.
Schedule I drugs are those which have the highest potential for dependency, harm, and abuse in the eyes of the federal government.
They also lack any type of accepted use in mainstream American medicine.
Examples of Schedule I drugs would include LSD, crack, and heroin.
Schedule II drugs still have a high risk of abuse, dependency, and overall harm.
The main difference between drugs called Schedule I and Schedule II is that Schedule II drugs often have accepted medical uses. This means they often take the form of abused/abusable prescription medications. However, this does not mean possession, delivery, sale, or intent of sale is not still a criminal offense.
Examples of Schedule II drugs would include Adderall, oxycodone, fentanyl, and Ritalin.
Schedule III drugs could be considered the middle ground of harmfulness and addiction potential. This category also includes prescription drugs.
Examples of Schedule III drugs would include ketamine, steroids, and some codeine-based products.
Schedule IV drugs are the second-lowest in terms of harm and addiction potential. This category also includes prescription drugs.
Examples of Schedule IV drugs would include Xanax, Valium, Ambien, and Talwin.
Schedule V is the lowest potential drugs for abuse and dependency. However, this does not stop them from being illegal in the eyes of the law. A person found in possession or intent on sale or delivery of Schedule V drugs will still face criminal charges. This category also includes prescription drugs.
Examples of Schedule V drugs would include Lyrica, Lomotil, and Motfen.
What Are the More Common Defenses a Lawyer Could Use for Drugs Crimes?
When it comes to drug cases, there is a large precedent of defenses a lawyer could use to lower the charges held against a person.
Defenses used in drug cases in Florida in the past include:
- Demonstrating that the law enforcement officers were displaying entrapment.
- Showing that possession of the purchased drug was not actually in the hands of the accused.
- Demonstrating a controlled substance involved in the sale has been misidentified.
- Disputing the legality of the evidence presented, if it was acquired in a way that was illegal or unconstitutional. If this is the case, the evidence will be inadmissible.
- Misidentification of the accused.
- Seizure of drugs or evidence from a home without a warrant.
- Incorrectly weighed amounts of a controlled substance.
Of course, while these precedents exist, it is important to remember that a truly good lawyer will base your defense around the exact details of your case.
Each person is different, and their situation, history, and case will be similarly different. The process at The Law Place reflects this. Following your free consultation and case evaluation, thorough interviews and investigations will be conducted to ensure that your defense takes advantage of every individual characteristic.
If you have purchased a controlled substance in a manner that demonstrates intent for sale or delivery, an attorney may find details in unlikely places to help you get the charges issued by the state reduced or dismissed. This is why the interpersonal aspect of the criminal defense process is so important.
The Burden of Proof in Criminal Proceedings
If you are charged with a drug crime, unlike if you are taken to court for a civil case, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to demonstrate that you are guilty beyond a level of reasonable doubt. They must show intent and probable cause. This is known as the burden of proof.
This leaves open a number of avenues that a good criminal lawyer can exploit. They can question the level of intent you displayed in reference to the sale or delivery of a controlled substance. This can help to get the crime you are charged with lowered to a matter of simple possession or even dropped entirely.
The key role of your criminal lawyer in the court will be to cast doubt on evidence and to negotiate with the prosecution to lower the charges.
How Much Money Would Representation by The Law Place Cost You?
You may be wondering if you can afford the level of legal representation needed to stand a chance at minimizing the consequences of your drug charge.
Due to the immense variation on a case-by-case basis, it is impossible to give a fixed quote here. However, The Law Place can give you several cost-related assurances.
Firstly, we ensure full transparency throughout the process. There will be no nasty surprises or hidden fees. The amount you are quoted will be the amount you pay.
Secondly, if you may struggle to afford representation, then we can work together to establish a payment plan that works for you.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been charged with the purchase of drugs or purchase with intent of sale or delivery, look no further than The Law Place for your criminal defense.
You may call any time of the day or night for a free consultation. It will be entirely confidential and free of obligation.
Contact us today at (941) 444-4444!