Drug crimes are taken incredibly seriously in the State of Florida, due in part to its particularly high rate of overdose-related deaths and its location near prime drug smuggling routes. When dealing with large amounts of controlled substances, drug trafficking charges can result in astronomic fines, decades in jail, and permanent felony charges, which will damage your employment competitivity in the United States for the rest of your life.
For the best chance at beating the drug charges leveled against you, you need the counsel of a criminal defense attorney with a thorough knowledge of the Florida statutes surrounding drug crime. Luckily, the lawyer team here at The Law Place has been defending clients in your exact position for a combined total of 75 years. We have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and prior experience, which is needed for a successful defense.
It all starts with a phone call to our main office in St. Petersburg, where we will schedule a free consultation and case evaluation to find out the specific details of your drug charges. All of this takes place with no obligation, and the phone call will constitute an attorney-client relationship, so you do not need to worry about the details you disclose.
Our lines are always open to arrange a free consultation and receive legal advice for any individual charged with a drug crime. Call today on (941) 444-4444 to get started.
The Legal Details on Florida Drug Crimes
The laws determining the parameters for all drug crimes in the State of Florida are contained within Florida Statute 893.13.
Without a thorough and professional knowledge of the Florida statutes regarding drug charges, the details are notoriously complex and confusing.
This is because there are many different drug-related charges, as well as different penalties for drug possession based on the type of drug in question and the total weight.
An Example of How the Types of Drug Impact the Penalties for Possession
As there are so many different types of controlled substances, it will be impossible to cover all the various boundaries for possession and personal use on this website.
To give you an idea of how weight and controlled substance type impact the severity of drug charges, we will compare getting caught with marijuana and getting caught with cocaine.
If you have been caught with an amount of marijuana that is less than 20 grams in Florida, the charge is likely to be a first-degree misdemeanor. This carries a maximum jail term of 1 year, as well as a fine capped at $1,000. Once you exceed the boundary of 20 grams, the drug crime becomes a felony, with much more serious consequences that vary based on how much you have exceeded the 20-gram threshold.
This is very different from cocaine, where the lowest threshold is any amount lower than 28 grams. However, possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine will still net you a third-degree felony charge which is punishable by up to a 5-year jail stint, a fine capped at $5,000, and a permanent felony on your criminal record. Once you exceed the 28-gram threshold with cocaine, you may be looking at drug trafficking charges with extremely serious consequences.
This will be different again if you have been accused of the possession of methamphetamine or trafficking heroin, for example.
To get the best idea of the severity of the charges you are up against, you will need case-specific legal advice from experienced criminal defense attorneys – like those at our law firm. We are able to give you a free consultation at no obligation to discuss all the details.
The Five Drug Schedules and How They Impact Drug Offenses in Florida
All illegal drugs (as well as some legal prescription drugs) will be fitted into one of the five controlled substance schedules.
These schedules run from Schedule I to Schedule V, and controlled substances are placed according to the government’s perception of their potential for danger in terms of dependency, risk of abuse, and harm.
Schedule I are the substances that are said to be the most severely harmful and also typically receive the most severe penalties for possession or drug trafficking.
Controlled Substances Belonging to Schedule I
These are illegal drugs the government believes carry the highest risk of abuse and potential for harm. Schedule I substances usually have no mainstream approved use in the medical field.
In amounts greater than ten grams, possession of these substances is likely to amount to either possession with intent to sell or deliver charges or even a drug trafficking charge.
Common Schedule I substances include LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), crack cocaine, and heroin.
Controlled Substances Belonging to Schedule II
A controlled substance belonging to Schedule II will still be taken extremely seriously by law enforcement. The difference, however, is that these substances often have accepted uses in the medical field and are even sometimes given as prescription drugs.
Common Schedule II controlled substances include cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, Adderall, hydrocodone, methadone, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.
Controlled Substances Belonging to Schedule III
Common Schedule III controlled substances include ketamine and anabolic steroids.
Controlled Substances Belonging to Schedule IV
Common Schedule VI controlled substances include branded drugs such as Ativan, Valium, Tramadol, Darvon, Ambien, Talwin, Soma, and Darvocet.
Controlled Substances Belonging to Schedule V
Common schedule V controlled substances include Lyrica, Lomotil, Motfen, and cough syrups which contain an amount of codeine that is less than 200 milligrams.
Even if you have been caught with a Schedule V substance, the law is likely to treat your case harshly, and you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side to avoid the worst consequences of a successful guilty conviction.
The Different Types of Drug Charge Possible Under Florida Law
As well as different levels of consequence depending on the type and weight of a controlled substance, there are also several different categories of drug charge possible.
- Possession of a controlled substance.
- Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell or deliver.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, which includes any type of equipment or any instrument that has been designed to plant, cultivate, transport, sell, conceal, produce, manufacture, or store illegal substances.
- Trafficking a controlled substance.
- Manufacturing a controlled substance.
As well as these, there are additional charges possible if you are accused of selling or possessing large amounts of chemical precursors for creating a controlled substance. Likewise, if you are renting a space for the purposes of manufacturing a controlled substance, you can be charged with a separate additional crime.
The Penalties for the Various Levels of Florida Drug Crimes
As discussed above, there are many different combinations of charges possible. As such, we will demonstrate the penalties possible for each level. These are as follows:
- A prison sentence of up 30 years.
- A fine that is capped at $10,000, as laid out in Florida Statute 775.083.
- A felony on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
- A prison sentence of up 15 years.
- A fine that is capped at $10,000.
- A felony on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
- A prison sentence of up 5 years.
- A fine that is capped at $5,000.
- A felony on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
- A prison sentence of up to 1 year.
- A fine that is capped at $1,000.
While these consequences are extremely serious and the impacts will continue for the rest of your life, all hope is not lost. With the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys, it is still possible to have the charges against you either lowered in severity or, in some cases, dropped entirely.
Here at The Law Place, we have a track record of beating the charges leveled against people just like you. For more information about how our legal team can help you, call us today.
The Consequences of Having a Felony Mark on Your Criminal History
As well as the actual fines and prison sentence you will receive with a guilty conviction for a felony-level drug crime, you will also receive a felony mark on your permanent criminal record.
This will follow you across the United States of America for the rest of your life and will impact you in the following ways:
- Making it harder for you to obtain gainful and competitive employment, as all prospective employers will be able to see your record.
- Making it harder to obtain credit, such as loans and mortgages.
- Causing you difficulty in future legal disputes, especially in family law cases, such as custody battles.
- Making it harder to obtain specialized permits and licenses for a wide range of things.
The problem with a felony mark, as well as the above, is that there is no legal way to have it expunged or sealed from your record.
This is why it is so important to beat your felony charges or to get them lowered to a misdemeanor. If you are not convicted for your felony crime, it is possible for a lawyer to get the arrest removed from your record.
What Are the Methods for Proving Possession With Intent to Sell or Deliver?
If you are caught in possession of a controlled substance, there are a number of things that will demonstrate intent to sell or deliver, thus escalating the charges.
You can be charged with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance if any of the following can be demonstrated beyond a level of reasonable doubt by the prosecution:
- You had large amounts of cash either hidden upon your person or in your vehicle, home, or close to where the drugs were discovered.
- You were in possession of equipment usually used for packaging substances for drug deals or drug trafficking.
- You were in possession or had drug paraphernalia close by. In this case, drug paraphernalia can refer to items such as scales, mixing equipment, small plastic baggies, test kits, or rolling papers.
- You also had weaponry in your possession.
- Another person who was involved in the process of drug dealing or manufacture tipped law enforcement off about your alleged activities.
- The amount of drugs in your possession was excessive enough to demonstrate the intention to sell, traffic, or deliver.
The Difference Between Constructive Possession and Simple Possession
When somebody is caught with drugs in their possession, it will be legally classified as either simple possession or constructive possession.
Simple possession is when the drugs are found on the actual person of the accused. This is the least preferable of the two situations, as it is unlikely your criminal defense attorney can distance you from the knowledge of and complicity with the controlled substance.
Constructive possession is easier to build a solid case around. Constructive possession refers to situations where the drugs are found in a potentially communal space, such as a shared living area or a motor vehicle that is used by multiple people.
- That the controlled substance which was discovered in the communal area was under the direct control of the accused.
- That the accused was fully aware and in full knowledge that the controlled substance was located there.
- That accused knew that the substance was controlled and illegal to be in possession of.
How Mandatory Minimum Sentences Work for Drug Crimes in Florida
One of the many factors which make a drug charge so serious in Florida is the laws regarding mandatory minimum sentencing.
A mandatory minimum sentence means that judges cannot make exceptions or demonstrate any leniency in their sentencing for drug crimes.
But, with the help of a high-quality criminal defense attorney from a reputable law firm, all is not necessarily lost.
It is still possible to reduce the total amount of years in prison by getting the actual charges downgraded in severity.
Common Defensive Precedents for Those Charged With Drug Offenses in Florida
There are many different ways to challenge a drug charge in the State of Florida. The most effective avenue of defense will differ on a case-by-case basis, but some of the most common include:
- That the behavior of the law enforcement officials in the arrest of the accused constituted deliberate entrapment.
- That the evidence for the case was obtained illegally, for example, without the necessary warrant, in these cases, the evidence necessary for a successful conviction will be deemed inadmissible.
- The controlled substance was inaccurately weighed or identified, or there was a flaw in the method by which the officials identified it.
- The drug that was found in the possession of the accused did not actually belong to them.
- The accused was actually misidentified as the suspect.
To get a better idea of which defenses apply to your case, contact an experienced Florida drug defense attorney from our law firm today.
The Importance of Receiving a Personally Tailored Defense
While the precedents for defensive strategies listed above do exist, they should by no means be used exclusively.
Any good Florida drug crime lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the events surrounding the arrest, as well as interview you in-depth about your perception of events.
Using this information, the relevant defense avenues listed above, and any unique factors to your case, your defense will be personally tailored to the specific events and circumstances that are unique to your case.
Rest assured, this is the strategy taken by the criminal defense lawyer team at our law firm with every single case. We have the tenacity, determination, and experience to ensure that we provide each and every one of our clients with the very best defense possible.
How Soon After Your Arrest Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
The simple answer to this question is: as soon as possible.
Many people are under the mistaken and incredibly damaging belief that they will be able to talk their way out of an arrest situation. This is not only almost always untrue, but they also end up providing law enforcement with additional evidence that makes a guilty conviction easier to reach.
You have the right to an attorney from the second you enter police custody, as well as the right to remain silent. You should not utter a word to law enforcement until your lawyer arrives, and then you should only behave as they brief you to. This way, you stand the greatest chance of not damaging your case.
If your arrest was in the past and you did not have legal representation, the best time to get in touch with an attorney is right now. It takes time to thoroughly investigate your case, interrogate the evidence, and build you the strongest defense possible.
Why Should You Choose the Law Place for Your Legal Counsel?
The legal team at The Law Place has amassed all of the necessary skills and experience needed to give you the best chance of getting your charges dropped or downgraded. We have a proven track record of getting clients in your exact position off the hook for their allegations or getting their sentences downgraded in severity.
We conduct thorough investigations to accompany all of our legal battles, and no stone will be left unturned. Even the smallest mistake or act of misconduct on the part of law enforcement can lead to situations where your arrest is deemed unconstitutional, and the charges dropped.
We only employ professionals here at The Law Place who have the skills and compassion to keep you in the safest hands possible. Plus, many members of our criminal defense attorney team have achieved a perfect 10.0 rating on the AVVO website.
How Much Will a Lawyer From The Law Place Cost?
We are sorry to say that we are unable to give specific costs on our website.
This is down to the fact that every legal case is different, as is every client. Differences in the charges, the circumstances, and a person’s criminal history will impact the cost of a solid defense.
However, we can guarantee everybody who receives a free consultation a final price at no obligation. The fee will remain the same throughout the process, without any fluctuations, hidden costs, or nasty surprises.
If you are worried that you will not be able to afford the cost upfront, we can work together to figure out a personalized payment plan to suit your needs. We believe that in the United States, nobody should have to go without high-quality legal defense, regardless of their income or situation.
The cost of a good defense is always preferable to the actual cost of huge fines, income lost to the time you may have to spend in jail, and the lifelong financial handicaps that come with a felony on your criminal record.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are in the position of having been accused of delivery of a controlled substance in an amount greater than 10 grams, you need to get in touch with a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. If not, you could be facing huge stretches of time behind bars, crippling fines, and a criminal record that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Here at The Law Place, our legal defense team has over 75 years of combined experience fighting Florida drug charges and is available for free consultations around the clock. Every call and consultation is provided with no obligation, and thanks to the attorney-client relationship, everything you disclose will remain completely confidential.
To find out more about how a Florida attorney can help you with your charges of delivering a controlled substance that weighed more than ten grams, call our office in St. Petersburg, Florida, at any time on (941) 444-4444.