Drug Crimes in Florida

Drug crimes are some of the most common criminal charges in Florida. Prosecutors take a tough stance against drug crimes, even prosecuting individuals who have small amounts of drugs or paraphernalia. Charges can range from simple possession to trafficking. Penalties can range from participation in a diversion program up to felony charges that can lead to years behind bars. If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, contact an experienced Florida criminal attorney who will fight the case.

Florida Drug Laws

Under Florida Statutes Section 893.13, “a person may not sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance.” Florida also prohibits simple possession of drugs, conspiracy to commit drug crimes, driving under the influence of drugs, and drug trafficking. Drug charges apply not only to illegal narcotics but they can also apply to unauthorized possession or use of prescription drugs, inhaling chemical substances, and medical marijuana without a valid prescription.

Drug charges primarily depend on the type of drug involved and the quantity. A small quantity may only lead to a simple possession charge. Possession of over a certain amount may result in charges for intent to sell, even if the individual only intended to consume the drugs personally.

The penalties may also depend on whether there were any other criminal charges to accompany the drug charge, such as possession of a firearm. Repeat offenders are more likely to receive harsher sentences and may not be eligible for any diversion programs.

Illegal Narcotics

Illegal drugs are generally classified by schedule, based on federal drug classifications. Those schedules range from Schedule I to Schedule V. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs include: heroin, LSD, ecstasy/MDMA, peyote, and marijuana.

Schedule II drugs have some recognized medical use but a high potential for abuse. These drugs are considered to have the potential to lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Common Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, Demerol, fentanyl, Adderall, Dilaudid, methadone, methamphetamines, and oxycodone.

Schedule III drugs have some medical use and a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. These include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids.

Schedule IV and V drugs generally have a low potential for abuse. These include common prescription medications such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, Lyrica, and low codeine cough preparations such as Robitussin AC.

Marijuana

Even though a number of states have passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, the drug remains illegal in Florida for recreation purposes. Medical marijuana has recently been approved in Florida with a number of restrictions on who can obtain it, and how much they can have. However, marijuana is still considered a Class I drug under federal law.

Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor, with a maximum of 1 year in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than 20 grams is a felony. Possible penalties may depend on the amount of marijuana in an individual's possession. Possession of up to 25 pounds carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. More than 25 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds can result in up to 15 years in prison, and a $25,000 fine.

The penalties for possession of marijuana plants depends on the number of plants involved. Possession of less than 25 plants is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Possession of 25 to less than 300 is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

There are additional penalties if an individual is found to be in possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or park. This could lead to up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Prescription-Only Drugs

Prescription drugs may be prescribed to patients by qualified medical professionals. However, those prescriptions are only to be used and possessed by the individual who has a valid prescription. Possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription can result in a criminal charge. Similarly, forging a prescription or selling prescription drugs are also criminal offenses.

Drug Trafficking

Anyone who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into the state, or anyone in possession of more than a certain amount of drugs can be charged with trafficking. See Florida Statute Section 893.135.

Cocaine: Anyone selling, purchasing, or possessing 28 grams or more of cocaine, but less than 200 grams, must be sentenced to a minimum jail sentence of 3 years and a fine of $50,000. Possession of 200 grams or more of cocaine, but less than 400 grams shall be sentenced with a mandatory minimum of 7 years, and fined up to $100,000. Possession of 400 grams or more of cocaine, but less than 150 kilograms shall be sentenced with a minimum of 15 years in prison, and fined up to $250,000. Possession of 150 kilograms or more is a first-degree trafficking felony and carries the possibility of life in prison.

Heroin: Anyone selling, purchasing, or possessing 4 grams or more of heroin, morphine, opium, or any mixture or derivative, but less than 14 grams, must be sentenced to a minimum jail sentence of 3 years and a fine of $50,000. Possession of 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams shall be sentenced with a mandatory minimum of 15 years, and fined up to $100,000. Possession of 28 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms shall be sentenced with a minimum of 25 years in prison, and fined up to $500,000.

Hydrocodone: Anyone selling, purchasing, or possessing 14 grams or more of hydrocodone, or any mixture or derivative, but less than 28 grams, must be sentenced to a minimum jail sentence of 3 years and a fine of $50,000. Possession of 28 grams or more, but less than 50 grams shall be sentenced with a mandatory minimum of 7 years, and fined up to $100,000. Possession of 50 grams or more, but less than 200 grams shall be sentenced with a minimum of 15 years in prison, and fined up to $500,000. Possession of 200 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms carries a minimum sentence of 25 years and a fine of up to $750,000.

Oxycodone: Anyone selling, purchasing, or possessing 7 grams or more of oxycodone, or any mixture or derivative, but less than 14 grams, must be sentenced to a minimum jail sentence of 3 years and a fine of $50,000. Possession of 14 grams or more, but less than 25 grams shall be sentenced with a mandatory minimum of 7 years, and fined up to $100,000. Possession of 25 grams or more, but less than 100 grams shall be sentenced with a minimum of 15 years in prison, and fined up to $500,000. Possession of 100 grams or more, but less than 30 kilograms carries a minimum sentence of 25 years and a fine of up to $750,000.

Similar charges apply to possession of LSD, MDMA, GHB, GBL, flunitrazepam, methamphetamines, phencyclidine, and other drugs.

Florida Drug Crime Attorneys

Your Florida criminal defense attorney will fight for you, to clear your record and keep you out of jail. Koberlein Law Offices represents their clients before trial courts in Columbia County, Alachua County, Suwannee County, Hamilton County, Lafayette County, Madison County, and Gilchrist County. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced drug crime defense attorney, contact KLO online or call 386-269-9802 for Lake City or 352-519-4357 for Gainesville.

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