Florida Statute, 893.13(6)(a)
The state of Florida takes possession, manufacturing and trafficking of controlled substances very seriously, and sets out serious penalties for even the most low-level offender. Under Florida Statute, 893.13(6)(a), it is a felony to be in possession of a controlled substance for which you do not have a prescription. It is imperative that you contact an attorney from The Law Place as soon as you have been charged with the offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance, as the penalties are harsh. You could face lifelong consequences if convicted of this offense—aside from spending time in prison. You could also find it extremely difficult to obtain employment, rent a home, obtain a professional license or certification, or go to college on a government student loan.
Penalties Associated with Possession of a Controlled Substance
If you have been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, you are facing a third-degree felony. If convicted of the offense of Possession of a Controlled Substances, you could face up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation, and a maximum fine of $5,000. Remember, this applies to any drug in your possession which was not lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription.
Constructive Possession vs. Actual Possession of a Controlled Substance
In the state of Florida, “possession” can be constructive or actual. Actual possession means the controlled substance was found on your person, meaning it was in your pocket, you were holding it, or it was in a piece of clothing you are currently wearing—and no one else had access to the controlled substance. Constructive possession means you had access to the controlled substance. Police officers usually charge constructive possession when they believe there are multiple people who had access to the drugs and/or knowledge of the drugs.
A situation in which constructive possession might be applicable is when your car is stopped by the police and a search of your car reveals drugs in the glove box or in the trunk. However, you have several passengers in the car with you. Or, if you are at a friend’s house, and the police show up with a search warrant and subsequently find drugs in the house. Law enforcement may not really know who the drugs belong to, so they simply charge everyone in the house or car with constructive possession of a controlled substance.
When you are charged with constructive possession of a controlled substance, the police must be able to prove you knew the drugs were present, you knew the drugs were a controlled substance, and you had some type of “control” over the substance. In other words, just being close to drugs is usually not enough to convict you of the offense.
Defending Your Charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance
If you have been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, it is important to contact an experienced attorney from The Law Place as soon as possible. These are serious charges with serious consequences, and our attorneys will begin building a defense on your behalf immediately. We will explore the manner in which the drugs were discovered as well as the following:
- Whether there was a reason for your traffic stop;
- Whether a valid search warrant was in place for the search of your car or home;
- Whether you have a valid prescription for the controlled substance;
- Whether your Constitutional Rights were violated; and
- Whether proper protocol was followed by law enforcement.
We will speak to any potential witnesses or co-defendants, and will file the appropriate motions in an attempt to have your charges dismissed, or at the very least, reduced. The criminal defense attorneys in Sarasota at The Law Place will aggressively handle your charges, working hard to protect your future and your rights. Call 941-444-4444 today for a FREE consultation.