Drugs & Narcotics
Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substances
The maximum penalties are determined by the level of the offense.
- Third-degree felonies carry a maximum of 5 years in prison.
- Second-degree felonies carry a maximum of 15 years in prison.
- First-degree felonies carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.
The minimum penalties may be determined by the amount of drugs possessed. For certain drug offenses, possession of only a few grams will get you a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison and a mandatory fine of $50,000.
The sale or delivery of a controlled substance is punished very severely in Florida. Law enforcement sometimes uses confidential informants or undercover officers to conduct controlled buys. In these cases, there is typically video and audio surveillance of the transaction. Even if you are not caught selling drugs, if the drugs are packaged in a manner consistent with a sale, the penalties are the same. This is called possession with intent to sell, Florida Statute Section 893.13(1)(a).
Misdemeanor drug offenses typically involve possession of cannabis (marijuana) or possession of drug paraphernalia. Although the penalties for misdemeanors are far less severe, there are consequences to any drug conviction. Many people do not realize the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver’s license if you are convicted of any drug offense. As of October 2019, Florida law set the length of suspension for drug offenses to six (6) months.
Defenses to Drug Charges
There are many tactics to fight drug charges.
- Constitutional challenges to any illegal search or seizure of your person or property
- Available defenses provided by licensed medical marijuana cardholders
- Whether you had knowledge, dominion, and control of the drugs – this is particularly important in constructive possession cases where the drugs are not located on your person.
As a former prosecutor, Attorney Brandon Gans knows what issues to look for in drug cases. He will thoroughly explore all avenues of defense and strive for a dismissal of all charges.