Due to Florida’s location and role in drug trafficking in the United States, Florida has very severe drug laws. Even possession of drug paraphernalia can be punishable by up to one year in jail, but controlled substance charges carry the strictest penalties. If you are facing a controlled substance charge such as possessing, trafficking, or manufacturing a controlled substance, it’s important to seek experienced counsel from a Florida controlled substance defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Florida classifies controlled substances under five schedules:
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance will depend on the schedule of the drug involved in the offense. Penalties tend to be lower for drugs with a lower schedule.
One of the most common controlled substance charges in Florida is possession of a controlled substance. This is usually a third-degree felony that carries a potential penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or five years in prison. The charge is considered a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail when it involves a Schedule V drug or 20 grams or less of marijuana.
The amount of the controlled substance and whether authorities establish the intent to sell also influence potential penalties. Someone who is found with an amount of narcotics considered too large for personal use, a large sum of money, or packaging materials, for example, may be charged with intent to distribute. This is generally an even more serious crime.
If you have been charged with a controlled substance charge such as possession or possession with intent to distribute, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. When you are charged, the prosecution must prove you were in possession of the controlled substance then show you planned to or actually distributed the substance by transferring it to someone else with or without a payment.
Your Florida controlled substance defense attorney can help you build your defense with many possible strategies. Unless an exchange was actually witnessed, for example, prosecutors will rely on the opinion of law enforcement which is subjective and may be based on the quantity of the substance, whether packaging was found, and whether you were found with cash.
The prosecutor must also show that you acted knowingly and purposefully to distribute the substance. Being unaware that you were in possession of a controlled substance may be a defense. You may also defend yourself if you were not in close proximity to the substance or in direct control of the substance.
Drug charges in Florida are notoriously harsh and can come with hefty penalties, jail or prison time, license suspension, community service, and rehabilitation. If you are facing a charge for controlled substances, contact GMV Law Group, LLP to schedule a consultation with a Florida controlled substance defense attorney to begin building your defense and protecting your legal rights. We will work tirelessly to protect your best interests with English and Spanish speaking representatives available to help you.