Possession of Drugs in Florida

Drug possession in Florida is illegal and ranges in penalty from a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in jail to a first degree felony carrying with it a minimum mandatory prison term. Florida Statute 893.13 governs possession of narcotics and dictates penalties for each individual circumstance. The severity of a drug possession charge depends in part on the amount of the substance you have, how it’s packaged, and could take into consideration where you are when arrested. Our lawyers handle a high volume of controlled substance cases each year as they progress through Tampa’s criminal system. Though simple possession carries with it the least potential penalty of drug crimes, it is still important to retain a criminal lawyer familiar with the system, the players in the system, the direct penalties involved, and often most important, the collateral penalties a drug conviction carries.

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA

Marijuana possession in Tampa can vary from a first degree misdemeanor for being in simple possession of 20 grams or less, to a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison for possessing marijuana with the intent to sell within 1000 feet of a child care facility or school, university, park, church, public housing, or assisted living facility. Often we’ve encountered clients who were in possession of marijuana and had no idea they were in the proximity of one of the mentioned protected areas only to realize it after arrest. This can be devastating considering the increased severity of the charge. Not only will the second degree felony charge subject you to being eliminated for consideration for a diversion program, you may not be able to avoid formal conviction should it end in a plea. Our Tampa criminal lawyers have had tremendous success convincing the State Attorney to amend a charge of possession within 1000 feet to a simple possession charge.

POSSESSION OF COCAINE

Cocaine possession in Florida is at minimum a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the Department of Corrections. Like possession of marijuana, the amount of cocaine and your whereabouts when arrested can affect the severity of the crime you’re charged with. If you are caught with cocaine, have it packaged in a manner that leads the officer to believe you intend on selling it, and you are within 1000 feet of a childcare facility you will be looking at not only a first degree felony but also a minimum mandatory prison term of 3 years.

Like Driving Under the Influence, Florida possession charges come with the potential of having your driver’s license suspended. If you are adjudicated guilty after entering a plea to your drug charge, Florida Statute 322.055 requires the Judge to impose a 2 year driver’s license suspension regardless of your case having nothing to do with driving. Unlike other suspensions, you will not be eligible for a hardship license for one year after the date the suspension is imposed. This collateral penalty to a controlled substances charge can often be the most devastating. Our attorneys are very familiar with the direct and indirect penalties associated with these kind charges and can often help you avoid jail or prison time in addition to losing your driving privilege. It has often been said, the worst mistake a defendant can make in their case is not the crime itself, but the failure to hire a good criminal lawyer. We want to be that lawyer. Contact the attorneys at The Mayberry Law Firm today at 813-444-7345.