Drug Possession Charges are Serious, a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Penalties for drug possession in Florida depend on a number of factors
Drug possession is a violation of both federal and state law. And while laws vary widely depending upon the state, the principles of the offense are essentially the same. Willfully possessing substances that are considered illegal controlled substances is a crime. It is important to know what constitutes a crime, and the charges and penalties that can be administered. If you are facing drug possession charges, don’t wait, contact a savvy criminal defense attorney from the law office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. today for help. Our defense lawyers are highly skilled and knowledgeable in Florida law and advocate for you, your rights and your freedom. The sooner you call, the sooner we begin your defense strategy. Helping clients in New Port Richey, Pasco County, Pinellas County and throughout Tampa Bay since 1971.
What is a controlled substance?
By definition, a controlled substance is a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by the government. Certain illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, are restricted at both the federal and state level. In Florida, illegal controlled substances also include marijuana.
What is considered drug possession?
In a charge of drug possession, the defendant is charged with just that – possession of the drug. The defendant is not charged with manufacturing, distributing or selling the substance. Drug possession can be actual drug possession or constructive drug possession.
Actual possession vs. constructive possession
A charge of actual possession of a controlled substance occurs when the substance is in the defendant’s physical custody. For example, in a pants pocket or a handbag.
With a charge of constructive possession, the controlled substance does not have to be in physical contact with the defendant; the defendant only has to have knowledge of the where the substance is located and the ability to physically control it. For example, the defendant knows the substance is in the dresser drawer and can go retrieve it.
What are the punishments for drug possession?
Under Florida law, the punishment for a drug possession charge depends upon a few factors including: the specific controlled substance found, the type of charge, and the degree of the felony or misdemeanor. Drug possession laws typically fall into one of two main categories: simple possession, meaning possession for personal use of the substance, and possession with intent to distribute.
Possession of controlled substances – including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and others — may be charged as a third degree felony. Possession of marijuana in an amount less than 20 grams is considered “simple possession” and is a misdemeanor criminal offense.
What is “possession with intent to sell”?
In a “possession with intent to sell” case, the legal basis for the drug possession offense must be met with the added proof of the defendant’s intent to sell or distribute the controlled substance. This intent includes the manufacture, cultivation, trafficking, distribution and possession of these substances. The charge depends upon the type of controlled substance involved in the crime. Possession with intent to distribute carries much stiffer penalties upon conviction.
Contact us at 727-835-5536 for a free consultation
A charge of drug possession can bring with it a life changing sentence. Don’t leave the outcome to chance. Our New Port Richey criminal defense lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to protect your rights and minimize the negative impact of these charges. At Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. we are dedicated to protecting your future and helping you get the second chance you deserve. Call today for a free consultation at 727-835-5537 or contact us online.