In terms of controlled substance laws, Florida is one of the strictest states across America. This is due, in part, to its location close to prime drug smuggling routes from Mexico into the United States. As such, drug offenses committed in the State of Florida should be taken extremely seriously, as you could be looking at years in prison, sky-high fines, and a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
However, if you have been accused of drug crimes, all is not lost. The Law Place in Venice, Florida, has a wealth of experience fighting for defendants in drug possession cases. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has 75 years of combined experience helping people get their charges reduced to less severe ones – or simply dropped entirely.
To find out how an experienced drug possession lawyer from The Law Place can help you, all you need to do is book a free consultation. Our phone lines are always open, our case evaluations are always at no-obligation, and your personal information will be protected by the attorney-client relationship.
Contact a lawyer near you today by calling our attorney’s office on (941) 444-4444!
What Category Does My Possession of a Controlled Substance Crime Fit Into?
There are several different charges possible for possession of drugs, which depend entirely on the type of controlled substance in your possession and how much of it you are caught with.
You may be charged for simple possession of controlled substances, or you may receive much steeper drug trafficking charges. Depending on the presence of large amounts of cash or paraphernalia, such as plastic baggies, you may also receive possession with intent to distribute charges.
The penalties for drug crimes of each type differ greatly, and they also vary based on the type of substance and the weight amount. The specific information on the boundaries for various drug crimes and how they are punished is contained in Florida Statute 893.13.
However, if you want to know exactly what you are up against, arrange a free consultation with our criminal defense lawyer team. You can disclose your situation in a safe, confidential environment and receive the details of your best course of action.
A Clarifying Example of Drug Possession Boundaries
We are aware that the boundaries between possession, possession with intent to sell, and drug trafficking are confusing. This has to do with the harsh complexities of the laws surrounding drug charges in Venice, Florida.
To make things a little simpler, we offer the following examples.
In our example, the accused is found to be in possession of an amount less than 20 grams of marijuana. This person will then likely be facing a misdemeanor charge, which has the possible result of a maximum of one year in prison and a fine capped at $1,000. However, if you exceeded the threshold of 20 grams of marijuana, the charge changes to a felony. The felony-level for the drug charge will depend on how much you exceed the 20-gram threshold.
The following is an example of the laws in relation to the possession of a harder drug.
In this example, the accused is caught with less than 28 grams of cocaine in their possession. The possession charges for this amount of cocaine are a third-degree felony, as it is still simple possession. However, if this person was found to have more than 28 grams of cocaine, their felony charges would change to trafficking. This is automatically considered to be a first-degree felony.
As these two examples make clear, the boundaries for various drug charges vary greatly depending on the amount and type of controlled substances found in your possession. There is often a lack of concrete logic with drug charges, and the boundaries often appear to be arbitrarily decided by the government.
As such, the best way to know what you are up against when you are charged with a drug crime is to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place. We will be able to tell you exactly where your boundaries lie and what you can expect going forward.
The Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Rules for Drug Crimes in the State of Florida
Another thing that makes drug crimes in Florida particularly scary and severe is the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing rules.
The way this works is that, unlike a regular criminal charge, judges are absolutely unable to demonstrate leniency or nuance in their sentencing for a drug charge. If the sentence for your drug crime was 5 years in prison, this is the sentence that you will receive.
Despite this, not all is lost. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, it is possible to receive a less severe punishment for your drug charge. The way your drug crime attorney will be able to get around mandatory minimum sentences is by getting your actual charge reduced in severity.
For example, if you were being charged with a second-degree felony and your criminal defense attorney got it reduced to a third-degree felony, the mandatory minimum sentence would be reduced. It is also entirely possible that your drug crime attorney could get your charges dropped entirely, meaning you avoid a mandatory minimum sentence entirely.
The Different Types of Drug Crime Charge Possible for Possession of a Controlled Substance
As we have mentioned, there is a whole range of different possible types of drug crime often seen by our criminal defense lawyers in Florida.
These charges include:
- Possession of a controlled substance.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia includes any type of equipment or instrument that can be argued to be designed for the manufacture, storage, production, delivery, sale, concealment, transportation, planting, or cultivation of illegal drugs.
- Sale of controlled substances.
- Drug possession with intent to sell.
- Manufacturing a controlled substance.
- Trafficking a controlled substance.
Every single one of these various drug possession charges carries a heavy punishment. Even being caught with only paraphernalia in your possession can lead to a maximum of one year in jail.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of any of these charges, you will need the help of a drug crimes attorney with a large amount of experience successfully fighting and winning drug cases. Luckily for you, here at The Law Place, we offer exactly that.
The Various Controlled Substance Schedules in Venice, Florida
We have already mentioned how the charges you can expect to receive will depend on the amount and type of controlled substance in your possession. This severity is usually determined by which schedule the controlled substance belongs to.
There are five different schedules, with Schedule One being the drugs that the government has decided carry the highest risk of harm and abuse – this is the schedule that is punished the harshest in drug charges.
We will now go through the five different drug schedules, giving you examples of which controlled substance fits into each category.
Schedule One Drugs
Controlled substances belonging to Schedule One are those deemed by the government to possess the highest level of potential for harm, abuse, and general dependency.
Another aspect of Schedule One drugs is that they generally have no accepted mainstream use in the medical field.
Examples of these substances would include heroin, crack cocaine, and LSD.
Schedule Two Drugs
Controlled substances deemed to belong to Schedule Two still possess a high potential for abuse and dependency.
The primary difference between Schedule One and Schedule Two is that drugs belonging to Schedule Two usually have some kind of accepted use in mainstream medical science.
This means that this category also includes prescription drugs, which are legal with a prescription but are often still sold illegally.
Examples of these substances would include oxycodone, fentanyl, and Adderall.
Schedule Three Drugs
Controlled substances deemed to belong to schedule three represent the middle ground in terms of the potential for harm and addiction.
Examples of these substances would include some products containing codeine, steroids, and ketamine.
Schedule Four Drugs
Controlled substances deemed to belong to Schedule Four have been seen to have the second-lowest rating in terms of harm, addiction, and abuse potential.
Examples of these substances would include many well-known prescription substances such as Valium, Xanax, and Ambien.
Schedule Five Drugs
Controlled substances deemed to belong to Schedule Five are the ‘safest’ drugs for which you can receive a drug crime charge.
Examples of these substances would include Motfen, Lomotil, and Lyrica.
What Are Constructive Possession Charges?
Constructive possession laws offer an excellent avenue for your criminal defense lawyer to explore when working to mitigate the consequences of your drug possession with intent to sell charge.
Constructive possession describes the situation where drugs are not located directly on the person of the accused but in a location that could potentially be described as communal – such as a car or shared living space.
In situations such as these, the prosecution has to provide additional proof that the drugs were actually yours. This opens up many avenues of argument for your criminal defense lawyer to take advantage of.
In cases of constructive possession, the prosecution must demonstrate that:
- Firstly, the drug located in the common area in question was directly under the control of the accused party.
- Secondly, that the accused was entirely aware that the drugs were hidden in this location.
- Thirdly, that the accused was entirely aware of the fact that the discovered substance is illegal in Florida.
This is good news for anyone facing a drug possession with intent to sell charge, as the burden of proof needed to secure a guilty conviction is higher.
What Are the Other Common Defenses for Possession of Illegal Drugs With Intent to Sell?
The above is just one example of a way in which criminal defense lawyers argue to get their client’s charge reduced or entirely dismissed.
There are a number of other defenses that have successful precedents. Some of which include:
- Accusations of entrapment on the part of the law enforcement officers responsible for the arrest of the defendant.
- The argument that the drugs did not belong to the defendant.
- Errors in the way law enforcement officers identified the controlled substance in question.
- The evidence was obtained illegally. If the arresting officers failed to use a valid warrant, your attorney could move for a motion to suppress the charges entirely.
- The defendant was identified incorrectly.
- The substance involved in the charge was weighed incorrectly.
The Law Place Will Personalize Your Defense
One of the things that set The Law Place apart from many other law firms is the way we handle each client’s case. While our lawyers will draw upon the above precedents, especially in cases where there is an option to submit a motion to suppress, we will always tailor your defense to the specific circumstances surrounding your intent to sell charges.
All of this relies on you disclosing as many details of your possession/sale charge as possible during your case evaluation so that we can use every detail to assemble you the best personal defense possible for your circumstances. The Law Place is proud to have created a trusting and compassionate atmosphere where you will be entirely free of judgment. Whether you have been accused of having the intention to sell marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or something else entirely – we will fight our hardest to get your charges reduced as far as possible.
How Much Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer From The Law Place Cost You?
Unfortunately, there is no way to know the exact circumstances and amount of work your case will take, so we cannot give you a direct quote through our website.
This is due to the fact that drug charges differ so much depending on what you are accused of having possession of. The amount of work that goes into defending you from a first-degree felony charge will be very different from a first-degree misdemeanor. There is also the possibility of your past criminal history consider, the presence of which will impact the way we handle your case.
The most important thing to remember is that The Law Place prides itself on full disclosure. Following your free case evaluation, we will be able to provide a concrete figure for our services, and you will be free to decline or accept as you see fit. Once you have received the initial figure, we can assure you there will be no hidden costs or extras. We can even work together to figure out a payment plan that suits you.
Many people are put off seeking legal assistance for their drug charges due to cost, but we can assure you a successful defense will cost you much less in the long run. This is both due to the fines and the financial impact of long stints in jail and also the life-altering consequences of a felony drug charge.
The Consequences of a Felony Drug Charge
When you are caught with enough drugs in your possession to receive a felony charge, you should take this very seriously.
This is due to the fact that a felony conviction can never be removed from your permanent criminal record through expungement or sealing. This means that it will follow you forever, and there is nothing any criminal defense lawyer can do to change this.
The presence of a felony charge on your criminal record can lead to increased difficulty in the following ways:
- It will be harder to seek worthwhile employment, as all future employers will be able to see the presence of a felony on your criminal record. This will make you much less competitive in the job market.
- You may find it more difficult to receive credit for loans or be accepted for a down payment on things like a house mortgage.
- You will find it more difficult to be awarded certain types of licenses or permits.
- Your criminal history may be used against you in several other court situations, such as in a custody battle, for example.
As such, it is imperative that your criminal defense lawyer is able to get your felony charge reduced or dropped entirely by submitting a motion to suppress or by other legal means.
For this to work, you will need an attorney experienced and skilled in their field. The good news is, The Law Place has an entire team of these people.
Contact The Law Place Today
Whether you have received a first-degree misdemeanor or felony charges for the possession of an illegal substance, you need the best legal defense to prevent you from suffering the worst consequences of a conviction. If you are successfully convicted of a felony drug crime, you could be facing years of imprisonment, crippling fines, and a criminal history that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Here at The Law Place, we have put together a compassionate and determined team of drug crime defense lawyers with over 75 years of combined experience. No case is too tough for us, and we have a track record of decreasing the consequences of charges just like yours.
Don’t waste time. If you want to get the process started right away, all you need to do is call our office and arrange a free consultation. All consultations with The Law Place are at no obligation and entirely protected by the attorney-client relationship. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that your call can always be convenient for your busy schedule.
For more information and for free, impartial legal advice, call us on (941) 444-4444 today!