What comes to mind when you hear the word, Drugs? Often drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and prescription pills are what we think of when considering the substances involved in drug-related offenses in the Tampa Bay Area. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug-related offense, our attorneys know which penalties result from certain allegations and how to reduce the damage that a controlled substance arrest can cause.
How are illegal drugs classified in Florida and what are the crimes involved? Florida Statute 893.02 define controlled substances as any listed substance in Schedules I-V of Florida Statute 893.03. The schedules divide the substances into rankings based on the legitimate usefulness of the substance and its potential for abuse. Schedule I substances include those that have a very high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use. Some of the drugs classified as Schedule I include heroin, mescaline, peyote, and methaqualone. The crimes involving Schedule I substances are generally considered to be more serious than those involving drugs in lesser schedules due to the DEA’s viewing of such substances as having no legitimate purpose.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are Schedule V drugs. Schedule V substances have a very low risk of abuse and have some currently accepted medical use in the United States. A Schedule V drug is often a compound of a small amount of a controlled substance, paired with something that is not a controlled substance. Between Schedule I and V substances are schedules of varying significance.
Regardless of the controlled substance’s schedule, a person who illegally possesses, sells, distributes, manufactures, or traffics a controlled substance can be charged with a narcotics-related crime. Depending on the conduct alleged, the penalty involved may increase in severity. For example, a simple possession misdemeanor case can lead to a maximum punishment of 11 months, 29 days in jail. For more serious cases involving trafficking, for example, the punishment involved can lead to a minimum mandatory prison term of 25 years. The type of narcotic involved can also affect the sentencing potential; for example, trafficking heroin or methamphetamine can carry a harsher sentence than trafficking marijuana.
Allegations of these kinds of crimes are very serious and every effort available should be made to defend an allegation. A drug-related charge can be life-altering; it will involve you in a criminal court penalty, but it can also act to suspend your driver’s license for a period of time if adjudicated guilty of the offense. Jason Mayberry can help you navigate your way through this maze of unfamiliar territory. Whether you need help with an addiction problem, or just got caught for a recreational amount of marijuana, we can position you to get the result you need.Typical Drug Related Crimes in Florida
There are many controlled substance crimes in Florida, ranging from simple possession to trafficking in mass quantities. Some of the more common crimes are listed below.
Drug Possession - defined as having an illegal substance on your person or within your dominion and control, typically for personal use. This can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Possession with the Intent to Sell - defined as having an illegal substance in your possession in addition to a measuring scale and/or having the substance packaged individually for distribution. Possession with the intent to sell is considered a felony.
Sale of Drugs - defined as selling a controlled substance to another. The penalties involved will depend on the substance, the amount sold, and the location of the sale.
Trafficking - defined as the sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, or introduction into Florida of a large amount of drugs. Trafficking is a felony charge often involving minimum mandatory prison terms.Florida Controlled Substance Punishments
Under the right circumstances, an experienced drug lawyer can negotiate a pretrial diversion sentence for his client called “drug court,” or possibly an alternative program called DETRR; a less restrictive diversionary court. Successful completion of either of these special courts results in criminal charges being dropped against the defendant and in some cases eligibility for immediate expungement.
If you are not eligible for drug court diversion or the DETRR program, then your case will go through the traditional, punishment based criminal system. If your case is resolved with a plea, potential penalties could include:
- Public service hours
- Drug rehabilitation
- If adjudicated guilty, the collateral penalty of a suspended license and convicted felon status
If you’ve been charged with a narcotics related crime in Tampa, you need an experienced attorney. The Mayberry Law Firm has handled these types of crimes ranging from Federal cocaine smuggling cases on semi submarines off the Central American coast to simple marijuana possession cases where we have helped our clients avoid jail and drivers license suspensions. We are quite familiar with both the direct and collateral consequences involved in narcotics cases and are ready to help. Call the Mayberry Law Firm at 813-444-7435 today.