If you have been arrested for the possession of a controlled substance in Tampa, Florida, there is a long road ahead of you. Florida’s drug laws are notoriously complex and harsh, due to the state’s prime location as an international drug smuggling route.
Depending on the amount of controlled substance in your possession and the schedule number that the substance fits into, you could be looking at a wide range of consequences. For small amounts of marijuana, you could be looking at a year in jail without the aid of representation. For amounts of schedule one substances exceeding ten grams, you could go to jail for several decades on trafficking charges.
Luckily, you do not have to face your charges alone. An attorney from The Law Place can help you to get your penalties reduced or even dismissed. We have a track record of supporting those accused of drug offenses in Florida and have won many people their freedom who would have likely been sentenced harshly without representation.
The Law Place in Tampa also offers each client a free consultation over the telephone, and our lines remain open all day, every day. Additionally, the consultations are at no obligation, and all of the information you divulge is legally private and confidential. Starting the journey towards taking control of your future couldn’t be simpler. Just call The Law Place today to find out more.
Florida Drug Statutes
The statute which contains the specific legalities of controlled substances in Florida law is Florida Statute 893.13.
This is the statute that sets forth the various penalties for the possession of different amounts of a controlled substance. It draws the specific boundaries of when something can be considered personal use or is in an amount that can be considered for trafficking charges, which for certain controlled substances can result in a first-degree felony.
For example, being found in possession of 20 grams of marijuana in Tampa is a misdemeanor. Possession of 20 grams of marijuana would result in up to a year of incarceration and a fine totaling up to $1,000 for an initial offense. However, if you were to have been in possession of 20 grams of MDMA (also named ecstasy), your drug charges would classify as trafficking. The trafficking of MDMA is a third-degree felony and carries penalties of a mandatory sentence of a minimum of three years’ incarceration along with up to a $50,000 fine. Additionally, you can expect more severe penalties as the amount of controlled substance in the possession of the accused increases.
Florida drug charges are both complex and harsh. They vary based on both the type of controlled substance possessed and the weight of said substance. The penalties for possession charges become much more severe when it can be argued that the accused has enough of a substance that it implies intent to sell.
For more information on what charges to expect from possession of certain controlled substances, get in touch with The Law Place over the telephone for a free consultation today.
The Different Types of Drug Crime in Tampa, FL.
Drug possession is not the only type of Florida drug offense. There are several other drug charges or drug-related charges possible.
These charges include:
- Being found in possession of controlled substances.
- Being found possessing drug paraphernalia, which includes any kind of instrument or piece of equipment involved in the manufacture, harvesting, concealment, transportation, or storing of a controlled substance.
- Sale of a controlled substance.
- Manufacture of a controlled substance.
Each one of these charges has the potential for severe consequences. Whether you have been accused of a level of drug possession that indicates intent to sell or have been accused of the possession of paraphernalia, the smartest move is to secure representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Drug charges have the potential to alter the course of your future. Here at The Law Place in Tampa, we understand that and will work tirelessly to provide you with the best tailored defense possible for you.
The Five Drug Schedules
Each controlled substance deemed illegal for possession by Florida drug laws is divided into one of five discrete categories, known technically as schedules.
These schedules are designed in line with how harmful and addictive the government perceives a substance to be. Schedule one drugs are the worst in terms of addiction and potential for harm, with schedule five being the least dangerous. As such, schedule one drugs carry the most severe penalties in drug possession cases.
Schedule one drugs have the highest potential for addiction and abuse. They also have no accepted use in the medical field.
Schedule one drugs also carry the most severe drug possession charges. If you are accused of ten or more grams of schedule one drug possession, it will often be decided that you have intent to sell and so you could be charged with a first-degree felony.
Schedule one drugs include heroin, LSD, meth, and crack cocaine.
Schedule two drugs are categorized as the second-most harmful and addictive substances. Another major difference between schedule one and schedule two drugs is that schedule two substances often have mainstream medical uses, and some are prescribed.
Schedule two drugs include morphine, Ritalin, meperidine (Demerol, methadone, Dexedrine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Adderall, methamphetamine, oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, and cocaine.
Schedule three drugs are seen to have a smaller potential for abuse and addiction.
Schedule three drugs include ketamine, steroids, and some codeine-containing products that contain less than 90 milligrams of codeine in each dose.
Schedule four drugs are those that have low abuse and dependency risk.
Schedule four drugs include Ativan, Tramadol, Valium, Xanax, Darvocet, Ambien, Darvon, Soma, and Talwin.
Schedule five drugs have the lowest risks of harm, abuse, and dependency of all of the illegal substances.
Schedule five drugs include Parapectolin, cough syrups containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine, Lyrica, Lomotil, and Motfen.
Common Defenses Against Drug Possession Charges in Tampa, FL.
Any high-quality Tampa criminal defense lawyer will understand that every individual situation, and therefore every case, is different. For this reason, every lawyer at The Law Place will craft your defense personally to your specific situation.
With this considered, please find some common defenses for Tampa drug possession charges listed here:
- The police officers engaged in tactics of deliberate entrapment that led to the accused’s arrest.
- The illegal substance did not belong to the person accused of drug possession.
- There was at least one flaw in the way the police officers identified the substance leading to the drug possession charges.
- Evidence for the drug possession charges was obtained illegally.
- The one accused of drug possession was misidentified.
- The warrant used by the police for search and seizure purposes was either invalid or simply did not exist.
- The weight of the substance involved in the drug possession charges was incorrectly calculated.
If you should choose our firm to represent you, your Tampa criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place will have an in-depth conversation about the facts surrounding your case. From this, they will work out the best defense angle with the highest chance of getting your charges diminished or even dismissed.
If you would like a good idea of how a Tampa criminal defense attorney could help you, we offer all of our prospective clients’ free telephone consultations. In this time, we can briefly establish the facts of your case and give you a good idea of what you can expect from our representation.
Constructive Possession Explained
Florida drug laws contain several complexities that can be taken advantage of by an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer.
A good example of this would be constructive possession. This is where the drug possession charges are based on a substance; we shall use marijuana for this example, found not on the actual person of the accused, but in a shared space such as a car.
Here, it would have to be proven beyond a level of reasonable doubt that:
- The marijuana was in the control of the defendant.
- The defendant knew that the marijuana was stashed in the location.
- The defendant was aware of the legal status of marijuana.
The burden of proof in these situations of constructive drug possession falls upon the government and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if there is no solid evidence for each three of the above points, there is a good chance that an experienced Tampa drug attorney will be able to get the sentence reduced, if not dismissed.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Investigates Your Arrest in Tampa, FL.
All clients of The Law Place can be safe in the knowledge that they are in hands that are experienced in dealing with possession charges and have developed strategies ready to employ.
One such strategy we employ for all of our drug possession clients is a thorough and detailed investigation of their arrest. This focuses on not only the arrest itself but also the evidence, in terms of quality and manner of acquisition.
If the police officers have made even the slightest error in the process of your arrest or in the handling of key evidence, your criminal defense lawyer will stand a much greater chance at minimizing your penalties. It is not unknown for this process to be successful in decreasing a first-degree felony to a third-degree, or even having lesser charges dropped entirely.
The investigation will try to ascertain whether or not the accused had any of their inalienable rights violated, such as those of the Fourth Amendment. We will also work to determine whether the arresting officers operated in accordance with all aspects of the constitution and any other relevant laws. In cases where your rights have been violated in this way, all evidence can be suppressed and will no longer be able to be used in court. If this is the case, it is very unlikely that you would receive a conviction or sentence of incarceration.
How to Identify a Trustworthy Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you are facing charges of possession of a controlled substance, it very important to carefully select your representation. The attorney you choose will be the main thing separating you from potentially life-altering consequences. As such, it is important that they are not only skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable, but also trustworthy.
This is because, in order to build you the strongest case possible, your attorney will need all of the information surrounding the alleged incident. With this information, they will be able to identify and tailor their defense strategy. If you do not feel comfortable divulging the full, honest truth to your attorney, this will inadvertently impact the quality of your representation.
Some questions we at The Law Place would recommend asking any potential attorney are as follows:
- Have you represented defendants in similar cases to mine in the past?
- What percentage of these cases did you win?
- What is your fee structure, and would we be able to work out a payment plan together?
- How many trials have you been involved in litigating?
- What is your track record in terms of plea bargains?
- Can I see some references and testimonials from your previous clients?
This last point is especially important. If an attorney is unwilling to share testimonials, this is a red flag and indicator that they are hiding something. Trust is such a key part of the attorney-client relationship. Additionally, if you are worried that your potential attorney is cherry-picking testimonials, the internet is an excellent source for seeking out reviews of law firms and the lawyers they employ.
What Can High-Quality Representation Achieve for Me?
In a case with consequences as serious as those involved in Florida drug possession cases, there are many advantages to securing representation by an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable attorney.
Some of the things this attorney will be able to help you achieve are as follows:
- The dismissal or reduction of charges against you.
- The lowering of the severity of punishments, such as fines and jail time.
- The presentation and development of the highest quality solid defense.
- An attorney is also a good indicator that you are taking your charges seriously, and this can impact the outcome of the trial.
Contact The Law Place Today
As you will have seen from the information above, the drug laws in Florida are not only very complex but often exceedingly harsh. Here at The Law Place, we believe that everybody deserves the right to fight their charges and avoid all chances at punishments that could permanently impact the rest of their life.
We operate each of our cases as a team, and our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience fighting drug possession charges. We believe in operating with the ideals of skill and compassion and will never judge any client, no matter their story. A member of our attorney team will thoroughly investigate your arrest, the evidence held against you, and any other factors in personalizing the most effective defense possible for you and ensuring the best result.
We can offer you a free consultation over the telephone. All our consultations are at no-obligation and are entirely confidential. Our lines are even open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for your convenience.
Call (941) 444-4444 now for more information or free legal advice!