Drug possession is considered a serious crime in St. Petersburg and all throughout the State of Florida. Being caught in possession of a controlled substance can result in you receiving a felony conviction, which can impact the rest of your life, including your right to vote and your future job and education prospects.
Florida law makes it illegal to be in possession, traffic, or manufacture a controlled substance. Depending on the type of substance you are caught with and the quantity found in your possession, the criminal charges you can face will vary. If you are found with a large quantity of drugs, you may also face possession with intent to sell charges. Even if you have only been caught with a small amount, however, you could still be looking at large fines and time in prison. If you are in this situation, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can work with you to build a strong criminal defense and prevent the rest of your life from being impacted by drug possession charges.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of experience in multiple practice areas, including cases involving the possession of a controlled substance. We have a team of St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys who can provide you with the highest standard of legal assistance and build a strong criminal defense on your behalf for your drug crime charge. Our law firm offers a free consultation where you can speak to an experienced drug lawyer with no strings attached. Our priority is to ensure that the rest of your life is not impacted by drug possession charges.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with a drug crimes lawyer from our firm. Our lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Florida Drug Statutes
The possession of a controlled substance is made a drug crime under Florida Statute 893.13. This statute sets out the different classes of charges that a person may face depending on the substance they are caught with. Florida Statute 893.033 sets out the different classes of controlled substances, which are categorized into five different schedules.
For a conviction of drug possession in St. Petersburg, it must be demonstrated that:
- The substance you were caught with was controlled.
- You were able to control or access the drug.
- You had an awareness of the substance and its location.
There are a number of factors that will influence the penalties you may face for a conviction, including the quantity and category of the drug and whether you were in possession with the intent to sell. If you are caught in possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana, you will likely be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries with it penalties of up to one year in county jail in addition to up to $1,000 in fines. However, if you get caught carrying the same amount of MDMA, it is likely that you will be charged with drug trafficking, which carries with it a penalty of at least 3 years in prison. Additionally, receiving a St. Petersburg drug conviction can result in your driver’s license being revoked.
The Five Drug Schedules
The Law in Florida categorizes controlled substances into five different categories, depending on their level of dangerousness and the risk they pose for addiction. Penalties for drug possession will vary depending on what category of drug you are caught with, Schedule One being the most serious and Schedule Five carrying the least severe penalties. Being caught with even a small amount of Schedule One drugs can result in a serious criminal conviction and a permanent stain on your record.
As provided under Florida law, the five schedules are as follows:
- Schedule I – Drugs in this schedule are considered the most addictive and pose the highest amount of risk to the public. The law provides that they have no benefit in the medical field. If you are caught in possession of more than 10 grams of a Schedule One drug, you can be charged with a first-degree felony. Some of the substances included in this schedule include heroin, meth, and LSD.
- Schedule II – Drugs in this category are considered to pose the second-highest amount of risk to the public and for addiction. They have some medical benefits and can be prescribed by doctors in certain situations. Some of the drugs contained in this category include cocaine, methamphetamine, Oxycontin, Adderall, and methadone.
- Schedule III – Being caught in possession of a substance in this schedule will result in less severe penalties as the risk of addiction and harm is a lot less. Examples of drugs contained in this schedule include ketamine, steroids, and codeine.
- Schedule IV – Drugs in this category have a low level of risk and are often prescribed by doctors. Examples include Xanax, Ambien, Tramadol, Valium, and Ativan.
- Schedule V – Penalties for possession of drugs in this category without a prescription are lower as the risk of harm is quite low. Some examples include Lyrica, Moften, and Lomotil.
A comprehensive list of all substances and their categories is contained in Florida Statute 893.03.
Possession With Intent to Sell in St. Petersburg, FL.
If you are charged with drug possession in Florida with an intent to sell, the penalties you face will be far more severe. You could be looking at large fines and a lengthy prison sentence as you may be charged with a felony. If you are found with any of the following, you could face possession with intent to sell charges:
- A large quantity of drugs, exceeding the amount permitted for personal use.
- Plastic drug bags.
- Different types of controlled substances.
- Kits for drug testing.
- Cut up plastic straws.
If you have been charged with possession with intent to sell in Florida, you should speak with an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Charges of this nature are serious and could impact the rest of your life. It is important that you have legal assistance in order to get your charges reduced and to prevent you from spending time in prison.
Drug Trafficking in St. Petersburg, FL.
The crime of drug trafficking in St. Petersburg is considered a serious drug crime and carries with it harsh penalties. If you are caught trafficking drugs, you could be looking at a third-degree felony charge. Being in possession of the following quantities of drugs can result in you receiving a St. Petersburg drug trafficking conviction:
- 1 gram of LSD.
- 25 pounds of cannabis/marijuana.
- 10 grams of MDMA.
- 14 grams of hydrocodone.
- 7 grams of oxycodone.
- Any amount of heroin.
If you are convicted of a third-degree felony in St. Petersburg for drug possession or trafficking, you will receive a mandatory imprisonment term of three years in addition to large fines.
Constructive Possession vs. Actual Possession of a Controlled Substance in St. Petersburg, FL.
Law in Florida categorizes possession of an illegal substance charge as being actual or constructive possession. Being found in actual possession of a controlled substance will result in more severe penalties.
The main difference between possession that’s actual or constructive is the requirement to prove that the person was aware of the fact that they were in possession of the substance at the time they were caught. If it can be proved that you were aware of the drugs and you had access to them, you will be charged with constructive possession. On the other hand, you will be charged with actual possession if the drugs are found on your person, and there is no requirement to prove awareness.
One of the main instances a constructive possession charge may arise is if a law enforcement officer stops a car and discovers the presence of drugs, but there is more than one person in the car. In this situation, if the officer can’t prove that the controlled substance belonged to one particular individual, they will most likely charge everyone present with constructive possession. If you have been charged with this type of drug crime, you should speak with a defense attorney who can help build a strong drug defense on your behalf.
What Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do for Me?
Being charged with a drug possession offense in Florida can have serious repercussions. Drug crimes are taken seriously by the courts, and being convicted can result in you receiving a drug charge which impacts the rest of your life. Regardless of whether you have been charged with a felony or a first-degree misdemeanor for drug possession, it is important that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer who can help reduce your charges in St. Petersburg.
Our law firm offers a free consultation where a lawyer will give you guidance on how best to proceed with your charges for drug possession in Florida. When building a defense for a possession charge, some of the things an attorney will look at include:
- Whether your constitutional rights were violated.
- Whether your traffic stop or property search had legal grounds.
- Whether you had been prescribed the controlled substance by a doctor.
- Whether the police officer acted lawfully and followed protocol.
Call The Law Place Today
Drug possession charges are taken very seriously in Florida, and our law firm knows that trying to battle them on your own is extremely stressful. Regardless of whether you have been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, the rest of your life could be hugely impacted by a drug crime conviction.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of experience in multiple practice areas, including with drug charges. Our law firm has a team of experienced lawyers who have helped many clients found possessing a controlled substance. We offer a free consultation where you can receive honest legal advice from a lawyer regarding your drug charges. If you decide to proceed with us as your legal representatives, we will fight tooth and nail to ensure that you receive the best outcome for your possession charge.
Call our law firm today to arrange a free consultation. Our lines are always open.