Federal and State Drug Laws

Facing drug charges in Miami? A drug attorney knows that you could be facing significant time in prison and fines depending on the type of drug and the specific charges. Knowing Florida drug laws as well as federal laws can help you understand the serious implications of your circumstances.

Federal Drug Laws

Controlled substances such as ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are prohibited by federal law. This includes possession of or intending to sell and/or manufacture these drugs.

In some states, medical marijuana allows individuals with certain medical conditions to use this drug. Amphetamines and barbiturates are also used to treat medical conditions. In these cases, it is legal as long as the person using them has prescriptions. It becomes illegal when improperly prescribed or sold. Note that medical marijuana is not legal in Florida.

Federal drug laws tend to focus more on the most serious issue surrounding drugs; trafficking. Trafficking, or distribution, means the intent to sell. The punishment for this crime will depend on the individual’s criminal history, the type of controlled substance, the amount of the substance, and the location. Certain locations lead to harsher penalties, such as distributing at a school.

Drug trafficking can put someone behind bars anywhere from three years to a lifetime. Again, this will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. For instance, additional criminal activities may increase the sentence.

Charges under federal law tend to be more severe; imprisonment may be longer, for instance. Under state laws, simple possession (without the intent to sell) is usually considered a misdemeanor, and punishment is typically not as harsh.

Manufacturing of drugs can also carry heavy sentences. This means producing, possessing or growing marijuana plants, cannabis seeds or anything else that makes a controlled substance. It can also include those with labs designed to make cocaine, LSD and other similarly produced drugs.

Florida Drug Laws

In the state of Florida, although many of the charges for possession are considered misdemeanors, there is the possibility of first-degree felony charges levied against you.

To prove that an individual was in possession, the following must be established:

  • accused had control of the drug (easier to prove if it is found on the accused’s person);
  • drug seized is a controlled substance (must be tested in a lab); and
  • accused knew (or should have known) it was an illegal controlled substance and was in his or her possession.

Florida drug laws can change, so talking with an attorney can help you better understand the most current laws if you are facing drug charges. The amount will usually determine the level of felony with which the accused is charged. However, misdemeanor charges are possible as well.

For instance, possession of marijuana is usually a misdemeanor unless the amount is greater than 20 grams. It would be a first-degree felony if the person was found to be in possession of 25 pounds or more.

When you are facing drug charges in Miami, there is clearly a lot at stake. By consulting with a drug attorney who is familiar with these cases and the applicable laws, you can learn if there are ways to have your charges reduced or even dropped by calling (877) 663-5110.