If you’re native to Florida, you may already be aware of the fact that the state has had a long-standing battle with drugs. Due to the Sunshine State’s location on the map, it’s a hotbed for drug trafficking and because of this, the state invests a substantial amount of resources in tracking down, prosecuting and punishing drug offenders, especially felony drug offenders.
In Florida, drug crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the details of the case. For example, the “type” of drug alone can determine the course of a case. Meaning, some types of controlled substances are considered more serious, or more dangerous than others; therefore, drug crimes related to those substances can incur heftier penalties for the accused.
Florida drug offenses are basically broken down into:
- Possession for personal use
- Possession with intent to sell
- Manufacturing a controlled substance
- Selling a controlled substance
- Delivering a controlled substance
A Florida drug offense is typically prosecuted as a first-degree felony, a second-degree felony, a third-degree felony, or a misdemeanor of the first degree. The penalties depend on the type of drug and the specific offense committed.
When an individual commits a drug-related crime involving a controlled substance named under Section 893.03 of the Florida Statutes, he or she commits a felony of the second or third degree, or a misdemeanor of the first degree. While there are literally dozens of controlled substances described under Sec. 893.03, here are some examples of the drugs listed:
- Synthetic cannabinoids
- Psilocybin (aka Mushrooms)
- Morphine metylbromide, methylsulfonate, and Morphine-N-Oxide
Under Section 893.13 of the Florida Statutes, if a person sells, manufactures, delivers, possesses with the intent to sell, manufactures or delivers certain controlled substances listed in Sec. 893.03, he or she commits a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and by up to a $10,000 fine.
Generally speaking, the above “prohibited acts” can lead to third-degree or second-degree felony charges, or first-degree misdemeanor charges depending on the “type” of drug involved. For example, when the drug offense involves a controlled substance named or described under Section 893.03(5), the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Schedule V drugs under Sec. 893.03(5) are substances, compounds, mixtures, or preparations that have a “low potential for abuse” and they have accepted medical uses in the United States.
Controlled substances listed in Sec. 893.03(5) include:
If a drug offense is charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree, it is punishable by up to one year in jail, and by a fine not to exceed $1,000.
What About Simple Possession?
Clearly, many drug offenses involve simple possession, but even those are prosecuted harshly in Florida. Here’s what you need to know about simple possession:
- You cannot be in possession of a controlled substance unless it was lawfully obtained from a doctor who wrote a valid prescription. If you violate this law, you commit a felony of the third degree.
- If you are caught possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana, you commit a misdemeanor of the first degree.
- If you possess more than 10 grams of a controlled substance listed in sections 893.03(1)(a), (1)(b), or (2)(b), you commit a felony of the first degree.
- If you possess a Schedule V drug under Sec. 893.03(5), you commit a misdemeanor of the second degree. But if you sell it or deliver it, or possess it with the intent to sell it, you commit a misdemeanor of the first degree as mentioned earlier.
As you can see, simple possession can incur misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the substance. If you’re in this predicament, your freedom and your future are at risk. To get the help you need, contact our firm to meet with a Tampa drug possession lawyer.