The penalties for drug offenses in Florida vary widely depending on the type and amount of drugs discovered.
Felony possession of a controlled substance includes, among other things, possession of cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy), and even many drugs legally prescribed by physicians. These drugs include hydrocodone, morphine, opium, oxycodone, codeine, and alprazolam (Xanax) to name a few.
The maximum penalties are determined by the level of offense. Third degree felony possession carries a maximum five years in prison. Second degree is fifteen years and first degree possession is 30 years in prison.
The minimum penalties may be determined by the amount of drugs possessed. For certain drugs, possession of only a few grams will get you a minimum mandatory sentence of three years prison and a mandatory fine of $50,000.
Sale or delivery of a controlled substance is punished very severely in Florida. Law enforcement sometimes uses confidential informants or undercover officers to conduct controlled buys. In these cases, there is typically video and audio surveillance of the transaction. Even if you are not caught selling drugs, if the drugs are packaged in a manner consistent with sale the penalties are the same.
Misdemeanor drug offenses typically involve possession of cannabis (marijuana) or possession of drug paraphernalia. Although the penalties for misdemeanors are far less severe, there are consequences to any drug conviction. Many people do not realize the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver’s license for two years if you are convicted of any drug offense.
There are many tactics to fighting drug charges. These include constitutional challenges any illegal search or seizure of your person or property. We also hold the State to its burden of proving you had knowledge, dominion and control of the drugs. This is particularly important in constructive possession cases where the drugs are not located on your person.