Florida has some of the harshest penalties for purchasing illegal drugs in the United States. These penalties also increase in severity if you’re caught possessing or purchasing more than 10 grams of a controlled substance. Your charges could vary from a misdemeanor to a third, second, or first-degree felony. In this case, you could receive a longer prison sentence, a higher fine, and could even face intent to supply or drug trafficking charges.
So, if you’ve been involved in a drug crime involving more than 10 grams of any illegal substance, get in contact with a criminal defense attorney at The Law Place. We defend our clients in Venice, FL., and specialize in drug crimes, including drug trafficking, as well as the manufacturing, possession, sale, and purchase of controlled substances.
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime involving any controlled substance, we may be able to help. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today for a free consultation on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
Florida Law and Possession and Possession of a Controlled Substance
Florida Statute 893.13 states that it is illegal to:
- Sell illegal substances.
- Manufacture or distribute illegal substances.
- Possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver illegal substances.
If you’ve been caught with more than 10 grams of any controlled substance, it’s likely that your charge will be upgraded from simple possession to possession with intent to sell or even drug trafficking. This could be the case if, in addition to large quantities of illegal substances, you were found to be in possession of other drug paraphernalia, such as scales, bags, papers, syringes, or any other items associated with the sale of drugs.
This is a much more serious charge than just simple possession. So, if you’ve been caught purchasing or possessing more than 10 grams of any illegal substance, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
The Five Drug Schedules in Venice, Florida
According to Florida Statute 893.03, there are five schedules of controlled substances based on their potential for abuse, addiction, and harm. Schedule I incurs the most severe penalties, and Schedule V incurs the least.
If you have been caught purchasing illegal drugs, regardless of the type or amount of the drug, you’ll need to get in touch with an experienced drug crimes defense attorney to safeguard your future.
Schedule I drugs do not have any currently accepted medical use in Florida, and they do not meet safety standards required for public use. They also have an extremely high potential to be harmful and addictive. For example:
- MDMA (ecstasy)
Drugs classed as Schedule II have a high potential for abuse, which could lead to detrimental physical and psychological side effects. Many of these substances have medical uses. However, they are strictly controlled. So, purchasing any of these drugs illegally instead of receiving them via a prescription from your doctor can lead to serious legal consequences. For example:
Schedule III substances have less restricted medical uses and have a moderate to high risk of abuse, as well as side-effects such as withdrawal. For example:
- Anabolic steroids
Many of the substances in Schedule IV have common medical uses. Diazepam and Alprazolam are often prescribed for anxiety or stress, and Zopiclone is used to help sleep disorders. So, you won’t get into any legal trouble for possessing these as long as you have a valid medical prescription from a licensed doctor. However, it is illegal to purchase the following drugs illegally:
- Diazem (Valium)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
Substances in Schedule V are often used for medical purposes, and they have a lower potential for abuse. It is not against the law to purchase these substances as long as they come from a licensed retailer and they meet certain safety standards. For example:
- Cough medicines containing codeine (more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or 100 grams.)
Penalties for Purchasing a Controlled Substance Illegally in Venice
The penalty you could receive for purchasing illegal substances can depend on:
- The amount of drug you are purchasing.
- The type of drug you are purchasing.
- If you are a minor or were caught selling drugs to a minor.
- Whether you are charged with intent to distribute an illegal drug after purchase or whether it can be proved that it was only intended for personal use.
- Where you were caught purchasing an illegal drug, for example, you could receive harsher penalties if you were caught purchasing a drug near a playground or school.
- Whether this was your first drug offense or if you have a previous drug crime conviction on your criminal record.
- If any weapons or violence were involved.
It can be difficult to work out the exact penalty you might receive without knowing the specifics of your case. However, depending on your circumstances, you could receive a third, second, or first-degree felony or a variety of lower misdemeanor charges.
More information on penalties for felonies and misdemeanors can be found in Florida Statute 775.083.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Florida issues mandatory minimum sentences for crimes involving drugs. This means that you will have to serve a minimum amount of agreed punishment, and a judge will not be able to downgrade the number of years imprisonment in your mandatory sentence.
These types of sentences usually accompany the purchase of a controlled substance in large amounts, as in drug trafficking charges. As a conviction for this crime, you could be facing between 3 and 25 mandatory years in prison. So, it’s important to work with an attorney who may be able to reduce your charges, leading to a shorter mandatory sentence.
Drug Trafficking in Venice, Florida
If you’ve been caught purchasing large amounts of any controlled substance in the State of Florida, it’s likely you’ll be facing a drug trafficking charge. This is one of the more serious drug crimes, and it comes with severe legal consequences. So, if you’ve been accused of drug trafficking, you’ll need to get in touch with an attorney right away.
To be accused of drug trafficking, you’ll need to have purchased a large quantity of an illegal substance. The qualifying amount to receive this charge varies depending on the drug in question.
Florida Statute 893.135 explains the various drug trafficking amounts and penalties for some of the most serious controlled substances.
Drug Trafficking Marijuana
To be accused of marijuana drug trafficking in Venice, you’ll need to have been caught possessing or purchasing:
- 25 pounds or more of cannabis.
- 300 or more cannabis plants.
The penalties associated with trafficking marijuana depend on the amount of the drug you’ve purchased.
- Between 25 and 2,000 pounds of cannabis or between 300 and 2,000 cannabis plants – A minimum imprisonment of 3 years and a fine of $25,000.
- Between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds or plants of cannabis – A mandatory 7 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
- 10,000 or more pounds or plants of cannabis – A minimum of 15 years in prison with a $200,000 fine.
Drug Trafficking Cocaine
The purchase or possession of 28 grams of cocaine or any mixture containing cocaine.
- Between 28 grams and 200 grams – A minimum imprisonment of 3 years and a $50,000 fine.
- Between 200 and 400 grams – A minimum imprisonment of 7 years and a $100,000 fine.
- Between 400 grams and 150 kilograms – A minimum sentence of 15 years and a $250,000 fine.
- Over 150 kilograms – Life imprisonment.
Drug Trafficking Heroin, Morphine, and Opium Derivatives
The purchase or possession of 4 grams or more of heroin or any product containing morphine, hydromorphone, or any other opium products.
- Between 4 and 14 grams – A minimum of 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
- Between 14 and 28 grams – A minimum of 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
- Between 28 grams and 30 kilograms – A minimum of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Drug Trafficking Hydrocodone and Codeine
The purchase or possession of 28 grams or more of hydrocodone, codeine, or any product containing this amount.
- Between 28 and 50 grams – A 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $50,000 fine.
- Between 50 and 100 grams – A 7-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $100,000 fine.
- Between 100 grams and 300 grams – A 15-year minimum prison sentence and a $500,000 fine.
- Between 300 grams and 30 kilograms – A minimum 25-year prison sentence and a $750,000 fine.
How Could a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help With my Drug Charges?
A skilled criminal defense attorney will have a number of ways to defend you in court depending on the specific details of your case, as well as the crime you have been charged with.
You’ll need to contact a law firm as soon as possible after an incident. This is because your memory, as well as any evidence, can degrade over time. So, the sooner you find the right legal representation, the stronger your case will be.
You should also always make sure to choose a lawyer who offers a free consultation without any obligation to use their services. The right attorney-client relationship is important. You should be sure you’re working with the best person for you and your needs, and you also need to be confident in the legal help and advice you are being given.
Questioning the Methods of Law Enforcement Officers
One way in which an attorney could defend you in court and attempt to have your charges dropped or downgraded is to question the methods used by law enforcement officers at the scene of the crime.
Your attorney could, for example, question the circumstances of your stop, search, and seizure. In Venice, Florida, your Fourth Amendment right requires a police officer to have reasonable suspicion that you are committing, have committed, or intend to commit a crime in order to stop and search you or to enter your property to conduct a search. If the officer that stopped you did not have probable cause to initiate a search, this could lead to any evidence being thrown out or charges being dropped.
Your lawyer could also investigate your case to see if any improper police conduct had taken place. This could be the case if the officers were disproportionately aggressive at the scene of the crime or if they violated your fifth amendment right to withhold self-incriminating information whilst in police custody.
Florida Drug Courts
It can also be possible for your attorney to request that your trial be moved to a drug court. Information regarding drug courts and Florida law can be found in Florida Statute 397.334.
Drug courts are intended to reduce harsh penalties and prison sentences for drug crimes by focusing on treatment and rehabilitation. After your treatment, you will be placed under court-ordered supervision and will be subjected to ongoing random drug tests and checks.
You could attend one of the following Florida drug courts depending on the specifics of your case:
- Juvenile drug court.
- Adult Drug Pretrial Intervention Court.
- Post Adjudication Court.
- Marchman Act Drug Treatment Court.
- Veterans Treatment Court.
Depending on your exact circumstance, submitting yourself to drug intervention and treatment in one of Florida’s drug courts could mean that the charges against you could be dropped following the completion of any agreed terms. However, you’ll need to work with an experienced attorney in order to navigate the complex legal system of drug crimes and secure this route.
Contact The Law Place in Florida
With Florida’s strict laws and severe penalties, facing drug charges can be an intimidating prospect. So, if you’ve been caught purchasing drugs and are being charged with simple drug possession, possession with intent to sell, or trafficking charges, you should get into contact with The Law Place today.
Here at The Law Place, we have a team of highly skilled lawyers trained in the criminal defense of crimes involving controlled substances. We work around the clock for our clients to defend their rights and provide legal support. We can help regardless of whether you’re facing a first, second, or third-degree felony or any misdemeanor charge.
So, if you’ve committed a drug crime and are facing drug charges, schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call today on (941) 444-4444.