Florida has some of the strictest laws across the United States when it comes to controlled substances. One of the main reasons for this is because the close proximity Florida has with major Mexican drug smuggling trails. This means that a high proportion of all drugs brought into the country end up in the State of Florida. For this reason, anyone facing charges for a drug offense should take the situation very seriously. Punishments for the possession of drugs in Florida can be severe. Those found guilty face prison time, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record that will affect the opportunities you get for the rest of your life.
Despite this harsh reality, there is still hope. If you are facing charges of drug possession with intent, you need a criminal defense lawyer with the necessary experience to defend your freedom. At The Law Place, we have a highly skilled team of criminal defense lawyers who have over 75 years of combined experience in defending people in your position, helping to reduce their charges or get them dropped altogether.
If you are unsure of what steps to take next, call The Law Place today. We offer a free consultation service where a member of our team will look at the details of your case and offer confidential and impartial advice. This is a no-obligation service, giving you the chance to voice all your questions and concerns before making any final decisions. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us now at (941) 444-4444 and make an appointment.
What Category Does My Possession of a Controlled Substance Crime Fit Into?
Being found in possession of drugs has a number of charges that a person can receive. The charges are entirely dependant on the kind and quantity of controlled substance you were arrested for.
Charges will differ according to the findings of law enforcement but can range anywhere from a basic possession controlled substance charge to a much more serious drug trafficking charge. If you are also caught carrying drug paraphernalia, like a substantial number of plastic bags, you are at risk of receiving an intent to distribute charge.
Due to the wide range of punishments that can be applied to a drug possession charge, each case is different. The nuances of each case make it difficult to give a concrete answer regarding your own drug charges. Florida Statute 893.13 has outlined exactly how drug crimes are punished by law and is a good place to get a clearer idea of what you might be facing.
The easiest and most reliable source of information, however, is from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. In utilizing our free consultation service, you will have the opportunity to sit down with a member of our legal team and discuss your options in detail. One of our attorneys will be able to review the details and evidence in your case and beginning building your defense immediately. Call us now to schedule an appointment.
An Example of Drug Possession Boundaries
The laws in the State of Florida are complex at the best of times but become extremely confusing when it comes to drug charges. This is due to the many varying factors that make up each case. We understand that trying to understand the exact differences between possession, possession with intent to sell, and drug trafficking can be difficult. The following examples are designed to make things a little clearer.
In the first example, the defendant has been caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana. In this case, the accused will probably be charged with a misdemeanor. This charge carries a sentence of up to one year in prison plus a fine of up to $1,000.
If the accused had instead been arrested for possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, then the charges would have been increased to a felony. The quantity would determine which type of felony this person would face.
In this next example, we will demonstrate how the law treats those found in possession of a more criminalized drug.
Here, someone has been found in possession of fewer than 28 grams of cocaine. An arrest of this nature would likely come with a third-degree felony charge because it is classed as simple possession. Although, if this person had been in possession of more the 28 grams, then they would face drug trafficking charges instead. This type of charge is a first-degree felony and could see the defendant being sentenced to up to life in prison and a huge fine of $250,000.
So as we have seen, the punishments for drug charges can vary a great amount. It all depends on the type of controlled substance and how much was found in your possession at the time of your arrest. The lack of clarity surrounding the exact logic used to decide drug charges can make the whole process much more confusing and may appear somewhat arbitrary.
Therefore, contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately will give you the best chance of understanding exactly what you may come up against. Call The Law Place today to find out exactly what charges your case will be given and how best to move forward.
The Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Rules for Drug Crimes in the State of Florida
Mandatory minimum sentencing rules can be particularly harsh, making Florida one of the worst places to be found in possession of drugs in the entire country.
So in Florida, judges have zero power to alter a drug charge in order to make it more lenient, no matter the circumstances. This is where drug charges differ from other criminal charges. If you have been found in possession of a substance for which the punishment is five years of imprisonment, then that is what you will face.
Having said all this, there is still hope for you. A criminal defense lawyer is your way out. Hiring someone with relevant experience and a good success rate will significantly increase your chances of having your charges reduced and thus being able to bypass the mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
So if you were facing second-degree felony charges and your defense attorney was successful in getting the charges down to a third-degree felony, there would also be a reduction in the mandatory minimum sentence you would face. If you are lucky enough to hire a criminal defense attorney who manages to have all your charges dropped, you would never face a mandatory minimum sentence at all.
The Different Types of Drug Crime Charges Possible for Possession of a Controlled Substance
As we have already seen, drug crimes are hugely varied, and defense lawyers see all manners of cases. The following is a list of possible drug charges:
- Possession of a controlled substance.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. That is to say, any instrument that would be used to make, store, hide, sell, or move drugs.
- Drug possession with intent to sell.
- Sale of controlled substances.
- Producing a controlled substance.
- Trafficking a controlled substance.
All of the above charges come with a serious penalty and can lead to jail time, including solely being in possession of drug paraphernalia. If you have are facing any of these criminal charges, then you need the help of a criminal defense attorney with experience in defending drug possession cases. At The Law Place, we have all the knowledge and experience you should look for in your representation. Call us today to arrange a free case evaluation.
The Various Controlled Substance Schedules in Port Charlotte, Florida
As we know, the charge you face will be entirely dependent on the quantity and classification of the drug that was found in your possession. But how serious will your punishment be? And how will this be determined?
Well, controlled substances are divided into five schedules. These schedules, as decided by the government, rate drugs based on the risk that their use carries. The higher the schedule, the harsher your punishment will be.
Here are the five drug schedules and the exact substances that come under each.
Schedule One Drugs
Any drug within the boundaries of Schedule One is considered by the government to pose the greatest risk of harm, abuse, and addiction to people. Part of the reason for their scheduling is a lack of any ability to be used medically.
LSD, heroin, and crack cocaine are all examples of Schedule One drugs.
Schedule Two Drugs
Whilst it is not as high as their successor, Schedule Two drugs still pose a high risk of dependency. However, the main difference between these schedules is the partial acceptance of these drugs within the medical field. Therefore, Schedule Two includes drugs that are available with a prescription. However, there are high numbers of prescription drugs being sold illegally in Florida.
Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Adderall are all examples of Schedule Two drugs.
Schedule Three Drugs
The drugs classified as Schedule Three are considered moderately harmful and addictive by the government.
Products that include steroids, codeine, and ketamine are all examples of Schedule Three drugs.
Schedule Four Drugs
These substances have been given the second-lowest rating for their potential to be addictive and harmful to users.
Common prescription drugs like Valium, Ambien, and Xanax are all examples of Schedule Four drugs.
Schedule Five Drugs
These are the substances that the government considers to be the ‘safest’ whilst still being illegal.
Lomotil, Lyrica, and Motfen are all examples of Schedule Five drugs.
What Are Constructive Possession Charges
If you are facing charges of possession of illegal drugs with intent, your criminal defense attorney should explore this area of the law as a potential strategy for ensuring the reduction of your charges.
Constructive possession is a term used for cases in which the defendant was not caught with the illegal substance on their person. The drugs were, in fact, caught in a space that could be argued was public or communal, maybe a car or a shared house. Therefore, the prosecution must provide further evidence that proves you were indeed the owner of the illegal substance. Constructive possession can be extremely useful to your defense lawyer as it gives them an opportunity to explore numerous possible defenses.
So if you are being prosecuted in a constructive possession case, the prosecution has to provide evidence showing that:
- The illegal substance was found in a space that belongs to or was under the control of the defendant.
- The defendant was in full knowledge of the drugs and their whereabouts at the time of the arrest.
- The defendant also knew that the substance in their possession was outlawed in the State of Florida.
In other words, the prosecution needs to provide a higher burden of proof if they want to prove your guilt. This can definitely be used to your advantage and might be the key to your success.
What Are Other Common Defenses for Possession of Illegal Drugs with Intent to Sell?
Constructive possession is just one in a variety of defenses that your attorney may choose to pursue. There are also many more with high rates of success, including:
- Arguing that the defendant did not own the drugs.
- Proving errors in the classification of the substance by the police officer/s.
- Showing that the arresting police officers illegally confiscated the drugs. Maybe the law enforcement officers searched you without a warrant. This would give your attorney the ability to call for the charges to be entirely dropped.
- Proving that the arresting officers used entrapment.
- Arguing that the substance was confiscated but subsequently weighed wrongly.
- Proving that the accused was wrongly arrested due to being misidentified.
The Law Place Will Personalize Your Defense
Unlike many other law firms, The Law Place treats each case on an individual basis. We take the time to get to know our clients and the details of their cases. Our attorney-client relationships are hugely important to us as well feel like the most successful partnerships are those based on trust.
When working with our criminal defense attorneys, you will see that they make sure each defense is constructed, especially for every individual case and the circumstances under which our clients have been accused of intent to sell. Our team has looked at hundreds of previous cases in order to gain knowledge of the strongest defense strategies, which can then be tailored to you.
Just as much as we want you to trust us, we want you to feel comfortable disclosing every detail you can about your case. The more we know, the easier it will be to work together towards success. This will help us build a defense that won’t be damaged by withheld information later down the line. We have created a space in which you won’t be met with judgment or doubt. No matter the substance in question, our main priority is to fight hard in your defense and get your life back on track.
How Much Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer From The Law Place Cost Me?
The cost of a defense attorney is never absolutely certain. The final number is always based on how much work and time went into your case.
Charges can be very different from one another, depending on the details of your case. Fighting a Schedule One drug offense versus a Schedule Five offense takes different amounts of manpower and preparation. Furthermore, anyone who already has a prior criminal record should be aware that their case will require us to take a different approach. For this reason, we are not able to give you a quote via our website.
However, what is most important to remember is that you will not be faced with any hidden charges or fees after you have been given a final number. We take pride in our honesty and can guarantee that the price given to you in your free consultation is concrete. You will then have the opportunity to think about our offer and make your own decision. If it helps, we even a payment plan option that will allow you to pay your fees over an extended period of time.
We understand why many people decide not to hire legal representation solely because of the cost. However, we are here to tell you that you will not regret the expense when your charges are dropped or reduced. Your freedom is worth the money. Plus, as you know, once you have been in prison, it can be extremely difficult to get your life back to complete normality.
The Consequences of a Felony Drug Charge
Felony charges should be taken very seriously. They are unlike lesser charges which can later be removed from your record. A felony charge will always be attached to your name, making it extremely difficult to get your old life back. Unfortunately, the law has been created in such a way that your criminal defense attorney has no power to change this.
Having a felony charge will change your life in many ways, such as:
- Making it much more difficult to obtain employment that pays a fair wage and is worthwhile for you. Employers often avoid applicants that have a criminal record.
- You may be rejected when applying for loans, credit, or putting down deposits on purchases like a home.
- You may be turned down when applying for some classifications of permits and licenses.
- You may find that your record is later brought into something like a custody battle, where someone might be able to use this against you.
So you can see how important it is to get your charges dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor and how important your attorney will be to your case. Get a team that you can trust at The Law Place.
Contact The Law Place Today
No matter the charge you are facing, from a misdemeanor to a felony, we have your back. At The Law Place, we have your best interests at heart because we understand the impact that a criminal charge can have on your life. That is why we are so passionate about helping every single client to the best of our abilities.
At The Law Place, we have a team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys who have over 75 years of combined experience that they will use to build you the strongest defense possible. Don’t hesitate any longer. The sooner you act, the better your chances are of creating a solid defense with your legal team.
Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You always have someone to call at The Law Place, so contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation at (941) 444-4444.