Under Florida drug possession laws, possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription from a physician is illegal. Of course, some controlled substances like cocaine or heroine are not legally available even with a prescription. Illegal possession of controlled substances can lead to felony or misdemeanor drug charges depending on the amount possessed and the type of drug. Those charged in Miami may find legal representation from a drug possession defense attorney.
Florida Drug Possession Laws: Legal and Illegal Drugs
Drugs listed under Florida Statute 893.03 are considered controlled substances. These drugs are classified into five different controlled substance schedules (Schedule I to Schedule V) depending on potential for abuse and whether there is any accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.
The range extends from Schedule I drugs with high potential for abuse and for which there is no accepted medical use (heroin) to Schedule V drugs with the lowest potential for abuse and which are commonly used for medical purposes (medicine with low levels of codeine).
Generally, an individual can face illegal drug possession charges if he or she knowingly obtains and possesses a substance classified by the state as “controlled” without a doctor’s prescription – some drugs, of course, are not available in Florida even with a prescription such as cannabis, heroin or cocaine.
Charges & Penalties for Drug Charges
Under Florida drug possession laws, punishments for illegal possession of a controlled substance vary depending on the type and amount of the substance, location where the possession took place and the criminal history of the individual. For misdemeanor level possession charges, maximum jail time ranges from 60 days (second-degree) to one year (first-degree) with a maximum fine of $500 (second-degree) to $1,000 (first-degree).
For felony possession charges, individuals may face maximum jail sentences of five (third-degree), 15 (second-degree) to 30 (first-degree) years, as well as a maximum $5,000 (third-degree) or $10,000 (first- or second-degree) fine.
According to Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C., the charges faced may also depend on the amount of the drug in the individual’s possession. For example, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis can be punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor, while possession of more than 20 grams may be punishable as a third-degree felony.
Under Florida drug possession laws, penalties may be increased if the individual is caught near a school, child care facility, state park, community center, church or public recreational facility.
Hire a Drug Possession Defense Attorney
An attorney can assist in gathering evidence to defend the individual in court. Mix-ups regarding a prescription for a legal drug like oxycodone (a Schedule II drug) may be a defense for possession charges, while there may be some cases in which a legal drug for which the individual has a valid prescription is mistaken for a controlled substance – an analysis of the drug may be conducted in this case.
A drug possession defense attorney at the Falk & Ross in Miami can help individuals facing charges regarding drug possession. Free consultations are available to individuals who wish to discuss Florida drug possession laws and how they apply to a particular case.