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Drug Offenses in Florida - FAQs

Being charged with and convicted of a drug offense can have serious consequences. The possible consequences range from the possibility of diversion or probation up to serious prison time (a 25 year minimum mandatory in prison for some trafficking offenses). Our offices can assist in any drug offense, with the goal being to get the charges dropped, or if that is not possible to get the lowest possible sentence. We try to get evidence suppressed before trial, so that the charges will be dropped. Oftentimes, individuals charged with drug offenses have drug addiction issues. We can work with drug addiction and counseling specialists to assist individuals with this issue; counseling and treatment may help an individual out in their legal situation, but more importantly will help them in their life in general.

Set out below are some questions and answers frequently asked in this area:


Is Possession of Marijuana illegal in the State of Florida?
Unlike other states (like California and Colorado, which allows limited possession of marijuana for medical purposes), possession of any marijuana is a crime in the State of Florida. Possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana constitutes a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in the county jail, and up to a $1,000.00 fine. You can also be placed on supervised probation for up to a year as a sentence for a misdemeanor marijuana possession.

If you possess over 20 grams of marijuana, you can be charged with a third degree felony (punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000.00 fine). Possession of, sale or delivery of (or conspiracy to do any of these) over 25 pounds of marijuana results in a trafficking charge, which carries a three year minimum mandatory prison sentence.

NOTE: Any illegal drug possession charge, even just a misdemeanor possession, can result in a two year suspension of your Florida Driver’s License.

NOTE: Possession of any other controlled substance, whether it is a “street drug” like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or a prescription drug for which the accused does not hold a prescription, is always, at a minimum, a felony offense. A felony conviction can result in one losing one’s right to vote, possess a firearm, and in some instances be eligible to receive various federal funding (including receiving student loans). Beyond certain weights the charges can be trafficking, which is dealt with below. Back to Drug Offenses FAQs


What types of sentences can you receive in drug possession cases?
While this can vary from one county to the next in Florida, typically if you are charged with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and have no prior record, you will be eligible for a diversion program. Basically these are designed for first offenders, and if the participant successfully completes the program (which generally involves getting an evaluation, attending counseling, completing community service and being subject to random urinalysis) it results in the charges being dropped.

If you have priors, misdemeanors can result in probation, and/or jail.

If you are charged with a felony possession, and it is NOT a charge enhanced by the weight of the drugs involved (ie: trafficking amount), you are subject to probation and/or possible incarceration. If it is a first offense, you may be eligible for either a diversion program, similar to that described above for the misdemeanor possession of marijuana, or for drug court.

NOTE: Just as different counties handle drug offenses somewhat differently, different judges within the same county may have different attitudes about drug offenses and what appropriate sentences would be for them. This is just one of numerous areas where it is vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you, as they will know the differences between the counties and the judges, and can strategize on your behalf accordingly. Back to Drug Offenses FAQs


What is drug court and am I eligible?
Drug court is available to individuals charged with felony possession of a controlled substance (Drug Court generally won’t accept individuals accused of being involved in selling drugs: so therefore it won’t accept trafficking, or sale or delivery, or any possession with intent to sell or deliver). If it is a first offense, it is possible to participate in Drug Court and if successful have the charges dropped by the State Attorney’s Office. Drug Court generally lasts between 6 months to 18 months, and involves intensive outpatient group counseling, random urinalysis, and additionally participation in AA and NA meetings. It is ideal for individuals who have a problem with drug addiction and who actively want help to get treatment and deal with the legal situation at the same time.

There are some other offenses besides drug offenses that may be referred to Drug Court too if they are related to the individual’s drug addiction (for example some property crimes if the person was stealing or pawning items to support a drug habit). Back to Drug Offenses FAQs


Is drug court available in osceola county for cocaine? I am 52 yrs old, I had a DUI about 12 years ago, and a cocaine possession that I got a with hold on. A few weeks ago the cops came to my house for a noise complaint, we were having a party and my wife let them in. One of my friends saw the cops and ran, picked up a bag of cocaine and started throwing it down the sink. The cops apparently saw this and charged us with resisting, drug paraphenlia, cocaine psosession, and tampering with physcial evidence. Is there any way I can do a drug court program?

Your case is a little trickier in that you have priors; that being said drug court is not out of the question. However, before you get to that point, it looks like you have several possible defenses to the charges. I would recommend you speak to an attorney in the Central Florida area first about possible defenses to the charges, and second about possible drug court referral. If the charges get thrown out, you don't need to deal with drug court. Back to Drug Offenses FAQs


Permission to search a purse. Police claim they found cocaine residue and arrested her for possession. My friend got out of the car to see what she needed to do to bond her friend out. At this time she was in no trouble. Tthe police officer asked her to search her purse where she had in her clutch 200. The officer then arrested her and said that he found cocaine residue on the bills. Her second charge was paraphernalia because of the same bills. This sounds ludicrous to me. Police in Vero Beach are out of control. I would like to know if there is anything that I can do to help her. She has never even done this drug
Yes, there sounds like there are definitely defenses to your friend's situation, in that whatever was found in her purse was obtained through a warrantless search, and done without her consent. Without reviewing all the facts involved it is difficult to give a more specific answer, but I would definitely advise she gets an experienced criminal defense attorney to look into this for her. If a Motion to Suppress the evidence is granted by the judge, the charges could be thrown out. Back to Drug Offenses FAQs


 

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