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Drug Possession in Florida

Posted by Fred Koberlein, Jr. | Dec 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

Drug possession is a charge that is leveled against someone who has drugs but is not the manufacturer or distributor of the substance and has no intent to sell it. In general, this refers to having an illicit drug for the purpose of personal use. Possessing a controlled substance in Florida is a very serious crime which can result in a third degree felony conviction. Here is an overview of the penalties associated with drug possession in Florida.

Establishing Drug Possession in Florida

To establish the crime of drug possession, the prosecutor must demonstrate several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are as follows:

  1. The controlled substance was an illegal drug as defined under Florida law. This often requires the results of a scientific lab analysis.
  2. The defendant knew or should have known that the illicit substance was on their person or in their vehicle, and knew that the substance was illegal to have.
  3. The defendant had control over the presence and location of the drug. If the substance was in the glove box of the car or in the defendant's pocket, for example, control is established. If a passenger had the substance and the defendant was unaware, control may be harder to prove.

Drug Possession Penalties

The penalties for drug possession are very serious in Florida. While possession of a small amount of marijuana or illicit prescription drugs can result in just a misdemeanor charge, many controlled substances are felony convictions. These carry a range of punishments ranging from $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If you are deemed a repeat offender, career criminal or habitual offender, the penalties may be increased even further.

In addition, if you are driving when caught with the illicit drugs, you will likely see your driver's license suspended or even revoked. The length of suspension will depend on the nature of the drug and how many offenses you have had. It can be as little as 30 days to as much as six months, or even permanent loss of your driving privileges.

Defending Against Drug Charges

There are several valid defenses you may pursue if you are charged with possession of an illicit substance in Florida. These include the following:

  • You were not aware the drug or material was classified as a controlled substance;
  • You hold a valid prescription for the substance from a licensed medical professional;
  • Deliberate police entrapment;
  • Violation of your Fourth Amendment protections from unlawful search and seizure (the police had no warrant or probable cause).

If you are arrested in the state of Florida for a drug possession charge, you should never try to defend yourself. The laws are complex and any mistake can be costly. Instead, immediately call an expert criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with possession of an illicit substance while driving in North Florida, don't wait. Take some time to read over the services we provide, and give us a call for a consultation today or email us through our contact page.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein, Jr.

Fred Koberlein is a trial attorney who opened Koberlein Law Offices after acquiring extensive legal experience in three legal practice areas, which are: personal injury law; criminal defense; and local government matters which require you to appear or present your matter before your local government Boards, government Councils, and government Agencies. Mr. Koberlein began trial preparation through an externship as a legal clerk with the Judges of the Third Judicial Circuit for Florida prior to his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law.  After law school Mr. Koberlein was dedicated to becoming a trial attorney and worked with the Public Defender's Office from 2004 to 2007, where he was promoted to handling felony cases within eight months of hire.  Mr.  Koberlein has handled over 1500 criminal cases ranging from possession of cannabis, DUI, serious felonies, white-collar crimes, violations of probation hearings, and countless motion hearings. Mr.  Koberlein began practicing in the areas of personal injury and insurance defense during 2006.  Mr. Koberlein's experience in prosecuting personal injury claims against those insurance companies he was not representing and defending other insurance companies and their customers provided a unique experience where he was able to learn what each side anticipates from the opposing party.Next, Mr. Koberlein was hired by a City to defend the City's interests and three additional Cities quickly followed and retained Mr. Koberlein to protect their interests.  Currently, Mr. Koberlein represents a total of four (4) municipalities in the North Florida area.  As Mr. Koberlein focused on civil litigation he remained passionate about representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes as well as civil litigation issues. Mr.  Koberlein has the experience and reputation to negotiate a favorable resolution in your matter, and if that is not possible, to provide the best, most zealous trial representation available.  Utilizing competent and trusted investigators and experts, your case will be prepared so that the best result will be achieved.  If you or a loved one is hurt, damaged, or is facing criminal charges, you want a qualified, hard-working attorney who will explain your options to you in a straightforward, commonsense, and honest manner. Education and Practice Experience: University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Bachelor of Science, 1997 University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida; 1998 University of Florida, College of Law; Gainesville, Florida; 2003 Bar and Court Admissions: Florida Bar, 2004 – Present All 67 Counties in Florida All 20 Circuits in Florida U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Professional and Civic Activities: Florida Bar Trial Lawyers, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Business Law Section, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, 2004 – Present Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004 – Present Third Judicial Bar Association, 2004 – Present Mr.  Koberlein is committed to his clients and devotes himself to protecting their interests from the beginning to the end of their case.  Mr. Koberlein has spent his career helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges, fight insurance companies, and proceed through the bureaucratic process of local governments.  Mr. Koberlein welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and evaluate your legal needs and provide you with an experienced and competent analysis.

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