Experienced Drug Crime Lawyer Defending Clients in Tampa, Lutz, and Lakeland, Florida
Whether you have been arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana (cannabis) or trafficking of a controlled substance such as cocaine or methamphetamine, I can help you. I am an aggressive drug charge lawyer with decades of experience defending people accused of drug crimes in Florida.
DON’T LOSE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR 2 YEARS !!!
Call now for help and more information.
If you are convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a drug crime involving controlled substance, your driver’s license will be suspended for 2 YEARS! Many times this suspension can be prevented by obtaining a withhold of adjudication so you don’t lose your license. Don’t let a false accusation turn into a permanent mark on your criminal record and cause you to lose your independence. You need a drug crime lawyer to help you, and I’m ready to discuss your case.
I handle all drug charge cases. Many times these cases are ripe with legal issues that could get your charges dropped or dismissed.
Drug Cases We Defend
- Controlled Substances
- Prescription Drugs
How Does the State of Florida Classify Different Drugs?
Paralleling federal drug law, Florida’s state law classifies every controlled substance into five drug schedules. The Florida legislature considers three key aspects of every substance in order to determine which schedule it falls under: any accepted medical uses for the substance, the substance’s potential for abuse and the substance’s potential to cause dependence if abused. In short, higher schedule drugs have been deemed to be more addictive and harmful, and thus the restrictions on their use are more stringent and the penalties for possession are more severe.
Details for all five drug schedules can be found in Florida Statute § 893.03, and a summary of each schedule can be found below.
Schedule I Drugs
The substances listed under Florida’s Schedule I have been judged to have “a high potential for abuse” with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Note that following the passage of Florida’s medical marijuana law in 2016, properly prescribed marijuana is an exception to the general rule that Schedule I drugs have no acceptable medical uses. With the exception of smaller amount of marijuana, any possession of Schedule I drugs carries some of the severest drug possession penalties.
Among the drugs included in Florida’s Schedule I are:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Hallucinogenic mushrooms (Psilocybin)
Schedule II Drugs
Like Schedule I controlled substances, Schedule II drugs are regarding as carrying a high risk for being abused with abuse commonly leading to serious physical or psychological dependence; however, the Florida legislature has found that these drugs do have some limited legitimate medical uses.
Among the drugs included in Florida’s Schedule II are:
Schedule III Drugs
The substances included in Schedule III have been deemed to have the potential for abuse, though less than with those substances listed under the previous two schedules. According to the Florida legislature, abuse of Schedule III controlled substances has the potential to cause a moderate level of physical dependence and/or a high degree of psychological reliance on the substance; in the case of anabolic steroids, physical damage is also possible. However, all of these drug do have legitimate uses in medical treatments.
Among the drugs included in Florida’s Schedule III are:
- Anabolic steroids such as testosterone
Schedule IV Drugs
Drugs classified as Schedule IV have been judged to have an even lower risk for abuse than those in the schedules above, though any abuse can still trigger some dependence, physical or psychological. All drugs on this schedule have common medical uses, including many prescription medications that can be validly prescribed for mental illnesses or sleep disorders; however, use without a valid prescription is illegal.
Among the drugs included in Florida’s Schedule IV are:
- Ativan (lorazepam)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Halcion (triazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
Schedule V Drugs
The lowest schedule under Florida law, Schedule V drugs are regarded as having the lowest risk for abuse of all controlled substance, with a small risk for dependence upon abuse. These drugs all have legitimate medical uses. Many of the drugs on Schedule V contain controlled substances otherwise higher on Florida’s drug schedules (such as codeine) mixed with higher proportions of active medicinal ingredients that are not illegal (such as acetaminophen).
Among the drugs included in Florida’s Schedule V are:
- Acetaminophen with Codeine
- M-phen (codeine/phenylephrine/promethazine)
- Robitussin (guaifenesin)
- Lyrica (pregabalin)
What are the Penalties for Drug Possession in the State of Florida?
Under Florida law, most drug possession is a felony. The degree of the felony depends both upon the substance and the amount possessed. Note that lower degree drug possession charges apply only to those who possess the substance for their own use; possession with the intent to sell or distribute or the manufacturing of controlled substances can result in different (and usually more severe) charges.
First Degree Misdemeanor Possession
While most drug possession in Florida carries a potential felony charge, possession of small amount of marijuana is the exception. Possession of under 20 grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor, with the potential for enhanced penalties if the defendant has four or more prior drug offenses. This penalty does not apply to legal medical marijuana possession.
A conviction of first degree misdemeanor possession carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail as well as a maximum fine of $1,000. If eligible for enhanced penalties, a defendant may also be sentenced to mandatory treatment or one year home detention.
Third Degree Felony Possession
Aside from small amounts of marijuana, possession of any controlled substance on Florida’s drug schedules is typically charged as a third degree felony. However, if the amount of the substance possessed is large enough to imply an intent to sell or distribute, the charge can be increased to a first degree felony. Third degree felony charges apply to possession of less than 28 grams of cocaine, less than four grams of heroin or other opiates, less than 10 grams of MDMA/ecstasy, less than one gram of LSD and between 20 grams and 25 pounds of marijuana (except legally prescribed medical marijuana).
Those convicted of third degree felony possession face up to five years jail time with a maximum fine of $5,000.
First Degree Felony Possession
Possession of any substance in sufficient quantities to imply intent to sell or distribute can result in a first degree felony charge. Note that evidence of actual sale or distribution is not necessary to be charged with a first degree felony; the mere possession of a certain amount of each drug is all that needs to be shown.
The penalties for first degree felony drug possession include up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000. Certain drugs and amounts carry mandatory minimum sentences. For example, possession of between 28 and 200 grams of cocaine has a mandatory minimum sentence of three years with a $50,000 fine, while more than seven grams of LSD carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years with a $500,000 fine.
These fines and penalties should not be taken lightly. Not only will a drug possession conviction affect your finances and freedom, a criminal record for drug possession in Florida may hinder your ability to rent a home or find employment. Don’t settle for a criminal record! Call an aggressive drug possession attorney today!
Common Questions People Ask Me About Drug Charges
- Did law enforcement need a search warrant to search you, your car, or your house?
- Did the police have the right or probable cause to search you, your car or your home?
- Did the police have the right to hold you until the K-9 unit arrived to conduct a dog sniff?
- Are the dogs used in the sniff reliable and will the search hold up in court?
- Was the search and seizure conducted in a timely manner?
- Was the information forming the basis of the search stale information?
- Did law enforcement need a search warrant to search you, your car, or your house?
- Can the search warrant be thrown out of court?
- Can the evidence against me be excluded, suppressed, or thrown out of court?
If the evidence is suppressed, can the prosecutor still go forward on my case?
Drug cases have many legal issues that can help you. It may be possible to file a Motion to Suppress in your case to have the evidence against you thrown out of court for one of the above reasons. A Motion to Suppress is a legal document requesting that evidence (the drugs) be thrown out in your case. If the motion is granted, your case could be dismissed.
There are other important issues as well:
- Were the drugs (controlled substance) actually found on you?
- Or, were the drugs not actually on you, but somewhere nearby, or found in a car or house you were in? This is called Constructive Possession and you may have legal defense to the drug charge.
How can the Drug Court Diversion Program help me?
This simple fact could mean the difference between Suppress your case being thrown out and keeping your record clean or you being put in prison or placed on probation. If the prosecutor can not prove that you were in actual or constructive possession of the contraband as required under Florida case law, your case may be dismissed by filing a Motion to Dismiss in your case. Having the drug charges against you dropped or the case dismissed would be the ideal situation.
A drug crime or controlled substance case will depend on the facts of each individual case. the specific facts of your case are what matter and are important. Please call for a free consultation with our drug charge defense attorneys so that we can advise you based upon the unique facts of your case.
There also also many ways to resolve drug Charges, please click:
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Lakeland, FL (863) 838-5549
Tampa, FL (813) 789-6404