Florida law is incredibly strict when it comes to drug possession. In fact, the State of Florida has some of the most severe drug crime penalties in the United States, including expensive fines and mandatory minimum sentences.
If you’ve been accused of purchasing over 10 grams of illegal drugs in Venice, you may not know where to turn for legal help. However, you’ll need some professional advice and support to navigate the complex legal system and achieve the best possible outcome.
Here at The Law Place, you can hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer serving Venice and the State of Florida. Our team is experienced in all types of drug possession cases, including any amount of cocaine, heroin, codeine, marijuana, and more. With over 75 cumulative years of experience across our firm, you can be sure your case is in safe and capable hands.
We also offer a free case evaluation. So, book your free consultation with one of our qualified lawyers today. Contact us on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
Drug Possession Law in the State of Florida
In the State of Florida, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess any illegal or controlled substance regardless of quantity. However, the severity of penalties, fines, and prison sentences are judged based on the type and amount of drug you possess. More information regarding this can be found in Florida Statute 893.13.
To be convicted of drug possession, it will need to be proved in court that:
- You were in possession of an illegal substance.
- The substance in question was correctly identified by the court.
- You were aware that you had the drug in your possession and knowingly proceeded to keep this drug.
- Your possession of illegal drugs was willful and not coerced.
Types of Drug Possession Charges in Venice, Florida
This is often referred to as ‘active possession.’ This means that you were found with controlled substances on your person, but the amount you were holding was small enough that it was likely you were not going to sell or traffic it.
Whilst this charge is not as serious as other drug crimes, it is still something to take very seriously. Considering the strict nature of Florida’s drug-related penalties, you should receive legal advice as soon as possible to try to get your charges minimized or dropped.
You could be charged with constructive possession of drugs if they were found at another location linked to you, such as your car, your home, or any other properties, but not directly on your person.
In this case, the prosecution will need to prove that:
- You were aware that drugs were being held in a location you owned or rented.
- You were in control of this location.
- You were aware that the substance linked to you was illegal.
Possession With Intent to Sell
If law enforcement officers suspect that anyone is in possession of controlled substances with the intent to further sell or distribute after purchasing, this could incur a possession with intent to sell charge. This is a more serious crime that comes with harsher penalties, including a longer prison sentence, higher fines, and increased probation time.
People accused of this crime are usually caught with one or more of the following:
- More than what is considered a single-use quantity of any illegal substance.
- Bags, scales, papers, or any other paraphernalia associated with the sale and distribution of narcotics.
If you’ve been caught possessing over 10 grams of any illegal drugs, it’s likely that you will be facing a possession with intent to sell charge. However, these charges can be reduced if your lawyer can prove you had only purchased the drugs for your own use.
If someone is found to be in possession of high amounts of illegal drugs, they could receive a drug trafficking charge. For someone to be accused of this crime, they will need to be in possession of:
- Over 25 pounds of 300 plants of cannabis.
- Over 28 grams of cocaine.
- Over 4 grams of heroin, morphine, or any other opium derivative.
- Over 28 grams of codeine, including any mixture containing more than this limit.
According to Florida Statute 893.135, possessing these large amounts of drugs will likely incur a first-degree felony charge in drug trafficking. However, the number of years in jail, as well as the level of fine you could receive, depends on the type of drug and the amount in your possession.
If you are facing drug trafficking charges, it’s important to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to achieve a more favorable case outcome.
In the State of Florida, drug manufacturing is a much more serious charge than simple possession. For this crime, you could be charged with both drug possession and manufacturing, which will mean you are faced with stacked sentences. This could result in more years in prison and a higher degree felony conviction.
You could be charged with drug manufacturing if, in addition to illegal drugs, you were found to be in possession of equipment or certain listed chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs.
The Five Schedules of Controlled Substances
In Florida, every controlled substance is sorted into one of five drug schedules. This ranking is based on the potential of each drug for harm, addiction, and abuse, and each comes with its own set of penalties. Drugs in Schedule I have the highest risk potential and the most severe penalties, and those in Schedule V have the lowest risk potential with the least severe penalties.
Some of the most common drugs in each schedule are:
- Schedule 1 – Marijuana, Heroin, MDMA.
- Schedule 2 – Morphine, Cocaine, Methadone, Ritalin, and Fentanyl.
- Schedule 3 – Ketamine and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule 4 – Diazepam, Zopiclone, Xanax, and Loprazolam.
- Schedule 5 – Cough medicines or other solutions containing over 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or 100 grams.
Some of the substances in Schedules II-V have accepted but controlled medical use. So, you will need to prove that you have a valid medical prescription from a licensed medical professional for the type and amount of substance in your possession.
You can find a complete list of controlled drugs and their schedules in Florida Statute 893.03.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Venice, Florida
The penalties for possessing illegal drugs in Venice, FL., vary according to the specifics of each case. Depending on your circumstance, you could receive a third, second, or first-degree felony or a misdemeanor charge. Some of the most common penalties include:
- A mandatory minimum prison sentence.
- Random drug testing.
- Court-ordered rehabilitation.
- Suspension of driver’s license.
Although drug crimes do not always clearly fit into the following categories, according to Florida Statute 775.083, the typical penalties for each type of conviction are:
- Capital felonies – Life imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty.
- First-degree felony – A fine of $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison.
- Second-degree felony – A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
- Third-degree felony – A fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.
- First-degree misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail with a fine of up to $1,000.
- Second-degree misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail with a fine of up to $500.
How Can Drug Possession Criminal Defence Lawyer Help Me?
There are many ways in which a criminal defense attorney could defend you in court in Venice, FL. However, you’ll need to be sure to work with a law firm experienced in drug crimes and courtroom defense. You’ll need a qualified professional trained in litigation to defend your rights and navigate the complex Florida legal system.
Here at The Law Place, our criminal defense lawyers could choose to question:
- The reason for your stop and search – Police officers need to have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed, are committing, or intend to commit a crime in order to stop and search you. An attorney could argue that these criteria had not been met when you were stopped, and therefore, any evidence could become inadmissible in court.
- Your treatment by law enforcement officers – If police officers were unusually rough when they handled you, if they failed to properly recite the Miranda warnings, or if they violated your right to withhold self-incriminating information, evidence could be inadmissible, and charges could be reduced or dropped.
- Your knowledge of the drug – A lawyer might argue that you did not know you possessed any illegal drug at the scene of the crime. This could be the case, for example, if you borrowed someone else’s jacket when you were stopped or if you were a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
- Your control of the drug – If drugs were found not on your person but at another location linked to you, it could be argued that you were not aware that this was the case.
- Your co-operation – You could receive a more lenient sentence if you co-operated with police officers and investigators to bring about the arrest of other drug criminals.
Contact The Law Place
If you’ve been charged with possession of any illegal drug, it’s likely you’re feeling overwhelmed by the charges you might face. Florida law is extremely strict when it comes to drug possession, so it can be difficult to know where to turn for legal help.
Depending on your circumstance, we may be able to get a first, second, or third-degree felony charge downgraded to a misdemeanor or even dropped altogether. However, this does depend on the specifics of your case.
Here at The Law Place, our dedicated team of attorneys will support you and defend you in court, helping you to achieve the best possible case outcome.
We want you to be sure you’re working with the best person for you and your case. That’s why we offer a free case evaluation to help you find the right legal support. Schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.