Felony Drug Possession & Your Rights

If you’ve been arrested for drug possession, will you face felony charges? What rights do you have?

In Florida, the possession of most controlled substances (drugs) is a felony. This means that you could face years in prison just for having an illegal drug in your possession, even if you have not been accused of manufacturing or selling it. The specific charges and penalties you face will depend on the type of drug and the amount.

Controlled substances are divided into schedules (categories) based on their potential for abuse and whether they have any medicinal value. Schedule I drugs, including LSD and heroin, are considered the most dangerous and have a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical value. Schedule II drugs, including cocaine and morphine, have a high potential for abuse but some accepted—and restricted—medical uses. Schedule III drugs, like anabolic steroids, have an accepted medical use but a potential for abuse. Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse and accepted medical applications.

The following felony drug possession penalties apply in Florida:

  • >10 grams of a Schedule I substance—first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • >10 grams of a Schedule II, III, IV, or V controlled substance—third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • >20 grams of marijuana—third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for Felony Possession?

The most important things to remember if you’re arrested for drug possession—or any crime—are your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Be polite, but exercise your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. By trying to answer their questions, you could unintentionally say or do something that could be used against you.

We can offer the following tips if you or someone you love is arrested for felony drug possession:

  • Remain silent.
  • Remain calm and polite.
  • Do not resist arrest or try to argue with the police.
  • Make it clear that you will not answer any questions without your attorney present.
  • Do not post bail without an attorney’s counsel.

At Thomas & Paulk, we are dedicated to helping people who’ve been arrested for felony drug possession in Tampa and throughout Florida. From the very beginning, we can work to protect your rights. We can consider whether your bail can be lowered or eliminated entirely, securing a release on your own recognizance. Our intervention can even prevent formal charges from being filed in the first place, and we can handle complex matters like drugs that aren’t yours, illegal searches, or other violations of your constitutional rights.

To learn more, check out our blog on arrests for drugs that aren’t yours.

Avoid the Serious Collateral Consequences of a Felony Drug Possession Conviction

Felonies carry harsher penalties than misdemeanors and have other serious consequences. A felony conviction may mean that you lose your right to vote, your right to own a firearm, and the ability to obtain certain professional licenses. What’s more, you cannot clear a felony from your criminal record.

Our Tampa drug crime lawyers know what you’re up against. We have extensive experience defending clients against felony possession charges, and we are ready to see what steps we can take to protect your freedom and future. Give us a call at (813) 321-7323 today!

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