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 a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer 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.
We offer a free consultation to anyone facing drug crime charges, so do not hesitate to call us today and speak to an experienced Sarasota criminal defense lawyer.
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 drug crime 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.
Why You Should Choose The Law Place as Your Criminal Defense Advocate
Navigating the stormy waters of a criminal case requires experience, commitment, and a genuine drive to seek justice. The stakes are incredibly high, and the team you entrust with your case can make all the difference. The Law Place is not just a law firm; it’s a beacon of hope, built on the pillars of experience, dedication, and compassion. By choosing our team, you position yourself for the best possible outcomes:
- Reducing or completely dismissing the charges against you.
- Minimizing potential penalties.
- Diminishing the likelihood of extended incarceration.
An objective measure of our prowess is our consistent high ratings on Avvo, an unbiased rating platform for attroneys. Avvo’s algorithm evaluates law firms based on their track record, years of service, and client feedback. With multiple 10.0 scores to our name and an array of glowing testimonials, our dedication to excellence is evident.
In choosing The Law Place, you aren’t merely hiring a single attorney; you’re securing a coalition of seasoned lawyers, each contributing their knowledge to fortify your defense.
From our first interaction, we prioritize establishing strong attorney-client rapport. Throughout your legal journey, open communication is our commitment. We ensure you’re never in the dark and can reach out at any stage of the process.
Transparency extends to our fee structure as well. We shun hidden charges, and our promise is simple: we deliver as per our agreement, without any unexpected financial burdens.
The Distinct Advantages of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
It’s not uncommon for individuals to contemplate self-representation, often as a cost-saving measure. However, the intricacies of the legal system make this approach fraught with risks. Here are some facets where experienced representation truly counts:
- Plea Bargaining: Criminal defense lawyers can often negotiate plea deals with prosecutors, potentially leading to reduced sentences or fewer charges.
- Sentencing Programs: If convicted, our attorneys are always a step ahead with alternative sentencing strategies. For instance, rather than jail time for a drug offense, we might advocate for rehabilitation programs.
- Witness Management: Handling witnesses is an art. From gathering critical testimonies to ensuring their credibility, our team has the experiencee to manage this delicate aspect effectively.
- Engaging Investigators and Experts: Cases often hinge on the findings of investigators and expert witnesses. Whether it’s challenging the credibility of prosecution witnesses or presenting expert opinions to debunk evidence, we’re adept at every turn.
- Real-World Court Experience: The court’s reality is vastly different from its portrayal in pop culture. Real-world litigation demands finesse, experience, and a deep understanding of the law, something we bring to the table every time.
Key Questions to Guide Your Attorney
Choosing the right legal representation is pivotal. As you evaluate your options, consider posing the following questions:
- Have you previously handled cases like mine?
- What’s your track record with similar cases?
- How many jury trials have you litigated?
- Can you share your success rate with plea deals?
- How is your fee structured, and are there flexible payment options?
- Can you provide client references?
Remember, a reliable attorney will readily offer references from satisfied clients. Any hesitation in this regard is a red flag.
Lastly, trust your instinct. Meeting your potential attorney should leave you feeling confident and reassured.
Possession of a controlled substance lawyer in Sarasota FAQ
What exactly is a drug possession charge in Sarasota?
Drug possession in Sarasota refers to having one or more illegal drugs in one’s possession for personal use, distribution, sale, or otherwise. The specific charges can vary based on the type and amount of the drug.
How does drug possession differ from drug trafficking?
While drug possession relates primarily to having illegal drugs for personal use, drug trafficking involves the manufacture, distribution, or sale of these substances, especially in significant quantities.
What are the consequences for a drug possession charge in Sarasota?
The penalties for drug possession charges can vary widely. They range from a first-degree misdemeanor for smaller amounts to a second-degree felony or first-degree felony for larger quantities or if there’s evidence of intent to sell.
Can a drug possession charge lead to more severe drug charges?
Yes. If you’re found with large quantities of illegal drugs or there’s evidence suggesting the intent to sell, you might face drug trafficking charges, which are more severe than simple possession.
How can a drug lawyer help if I’m charged with a drug-related crime?
A drug lawyer, particularly a criminal defense lawyer with a wealth of experience in drug crimes, can provide legal advice, build a strong defense strategy, and represent you in court. They can help reduce the severity of the charges or even get them dismissed, depending on the evidence and circumstances.
Are all illegal drugs treated the same under the law?
No. The severity of drug possession charges and potential penalties often depends on the type of drug, its classification under law, and the amount in possession.
How can my criminal history impact drug possession charges?
A previous criminal history, especially past drug crimes, can influence the severity of the charges and potential penalties. Repeat offenders may face stiffer sentences than first-time offenders.
Is it possible to face a first-degree felony charge for drug possession in Sarasota?
Yes. Possessing significant quantities of certain illegal drugs or possession with the intent to sell can lead to first-degree felony charges, which come with more severe penalties.
I’ve been charged with drug possession. Should I immediately consult a lawyer?
Absolutely. As soon as you face drug possession charges or any drug-related crime, you should seek the guidance of a criminal defense lawyer. A timely consultation can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
Can a criminal defense lawyer help even if the evidence against me is strong?
Yes. An experienced drug lawyer can challenge the validity of the evidence, the manner it was obtained, or find procedural errors that can influence the case’s outcome. Their experience is invaluable, regardless of the case’s apparent strength.
What is ‘possession of a controlled substance’ as defined under Florida Statute 893.13 (FSS 893.13)?
Under FSS 893.13, possession of a controlled substance is defined as having actual or constructive control over a substance that is regulated by law, such as narcotics, certain prescription medications, and other drugs. This includes illegal drugs and certain substances listed under the Controlled Substances Act.
What constitutes actual possession and constructive possession in controlled substance cases?
Actual possession means that a person has the substance on their person (e.g., in their pocket). Constructive possession implies that the substance was in a place over which the individual had control or with which they had substantial connection.
What are the potential punishments for possession of a controlled substance under Sarasota law?
The penalties vary based on the substance and the amount in possession. It can range from misdemeanor charges, which might involve up to one year in county jail, to second-degree felonies with potential hefty fines and a maximum prison sentence.
How does a Sarasota drug crime attorney approach defense in a controlled substance possession case?
A Sarasota drug crime attorney would typically analyze the circumstances of the arrest, scrutinize the evidence for actual or constructive possession, and explore defenses such as illegal searches or violations of constitutional rights. They develop the best defense strategy tailored to the specifics of the case.
What is an illegal search in the context of controlled substance cases?
An illegal search is one conducted without a proper warrant or probable cause. In controlled substance cases, any evidence obtained from an illegal search can be challenged and possibly excluded, affecting the prosecution’s case.
What are some possible defenses used in controlled substance possession cases in Sarasota under Florida Law?
Common defense strategies include challenging the legality of the law enforcement search, proving that the substance was not in actual or constructive possession of the accused, and showing lack of knowledge about the substance’s presence or nature.
Can a person face federal charges for possession of a controlled substance?
Yes, depending on the circumstances, such as the amount of substance and the nature of the offense, possession of a controlled substance can lead to federal charges. These often carry more severe penalties than state charges.
Take Control of Your Future with The Law Place – Speak to a Drug Crime Lawyer Today!
Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. At The Law Place, our track record speaks volumes, but our commitment to you goes beyond case results. Let’s chart a course together towards justice, protection, and peace of mind. Don’t leave your fate to chance; secure your future by reaching out to The Law Place now. The first step towards victory is only a call away. An experienced criminal defense attorney from our law firm is ready to help.
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.